PITTSBURGH -- A disputed call that went against them may have been exactly what the Pittsburgh Pirates needed to end a terrible slide.
Xavier Nady's two-run single completed a three-run Pirates comeback after a questionable call apparently cost them a run in the sixth inning, and Pittsburgh ended a six-game losing streak by beating Florida 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Paul Maholm (1-2) limited the Marlins to one run and four hits over six innings, ending a slide in which Pirates starting pitchers had an 11.38 ERA over the six games. The Marlins' three-game winning streak was also halted.
Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco (1-2) allowed only one hit, Maholm's single, over five shutout innings and appeared to get a break in the sixth when second base umpire Scott Barry called Nate McLouth out at second on a steal attempt. TV replays showed McLouth coming up from his pop-up slide, his foot on the base, before being tagged by second baseman Dan Uggla.
The call, argued briefly by manager John Russell, may have shaken the Pirates out of their slump. They responded with four consecutive two-out hits, with Freddy Sanchez and Jason Bay getting singles ahead of Ryan Doumit's game-tying RBI double.
"We could have rolled over there, but we came back with some pretty good at-bats," Russell said. "We've gone through some tough times, but hopefully this is what it takes to get out of it."
Nady ran his hitting streak to 10 games with a single that made it 3-1 and gave Maholm his first win in seven starts since beating Colorado on Aug. 23. The Pirates, outscored 58-16 during the losing streak, hadn't led since being ahead of the Cubs 1-0 in the second inning of a 3-2 loss Friday.
Nady wasn't angered by the call - he didn't watch the replay and didn't know at the time there was a dispute -- but he liked how the Pirates responded.
"It kind of got us going," he said. "It's the nature of the game, calls aren't always going to go your way. But it makes a competitor out of you and you have to bear down and battle."
Jorge Cantu homered leading off the seventh against reliever Tyler Yates, but the Marlins stranded runners on first and third when Hanley Ramirez was called out at first on a soft grounder to third. Ramirez appeared to beat Doug Mientkiewicz's bare-hand throw, prompting manager Fredi Gonzalez's ejection after he argued with umpire Mike Winters.
Gonzalez politely tiptoed around questions about the call -- he wouldn't say anything that might get him fined -- but Ramirez said it was obvious he was safe.
"That call, there's nothing I can do about it," said Ramirez, who didn't appear angry and didn't blame the call for costing Florida the game. "Everybody knows I was safe, but that's OK. This game, one call, you can go bad."
Or, in the Pirates' case, go good for a change.
Florida, which had been 5-0 in one-run games, scored in the first when Ramirez doubled and came home on Cantu's two-out single. Maholm held the Marlins held to two singles over the next five innings, but was lifted after throwing 93 pitches.
"I went out there with the attitude I was going to pitch well and we were going to win," Maholm said.
Pirates reliever John Grabow got out of a two-on, one-out jam created by Damaso Marte in the eighth. Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many attempts, striking out Mike Rabelo and getting Ramirez to fly out after Jeremy Hermida reached second with one out.
McLouth's 19-game hitting streak was stopped when he went 0-for-2 with two walks, the first time this season he hasn't gotten a hit. The streak was the longest in the majors.
"It was a good run, but I said it wasn't important," he said. "What was important was we got good pitching and some timely hits and got a good win."
Gonzalez visited the Steelers' offseason workouts Tuesday and talked with coach Mike Tomlin. ... The Marlins have gone 201 games without a complete game. ... The Pirates didn't allow double-figure runs for the first time in four games. ... The Marlins won the season series 3-2, but have lost 16 of 25 in PNC Park. ... McLouth had a 20-game streak dating to last season.