This afternoon’s series finale between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins pitted two outstanding young pitchers – Gerritt Cole and Jose Fernandez. The two matched up a couple weeks ago in Miami, and Fernandez got the best of Cole. Today, Cole came up on the short end of the stick once again vs. his mound opponent, but the Pirates offense rallied to beat the Marlins, 5-4 to complete a three game sweep.
Cole ran into trouble early, giving up two runs on two hits in the first inning, including a double to Giancarlo Stanton and a single to Placido Polanco.
The Pirates threatened to get on the board, getting a runner on base in the first three innings, including two runners on in the third. Alex Presley walked with two outs, and Neil Walker singled to put runners on first and second with Pedro Alvarez coming to the plate. But the Bucs’ third baseman lined out to left field to end the threat and the inning.
Garrett Jones led off the fourth with a single, reaching base for the second time in the game. After Tony Sanchez barely missed hitting a two-run homerun to deep center field, Josh Harrison grounded into a fielder’s choice and Clint Barmes popped out to squander the chance at a rally.
Christian Yelich broke the game open for the Marlins in the fifth inning with a two run homerun off Cole to push the lead to 4-0.
Pittsburgh made another run at Fernandez in the bottom of the fifth. Starling Marte drew a one out walk, and advanced to second on Presley’s single to put two runners on. Walker singled, scoring Marte, and then advanced to second on the throw. Alvarez followed up with an RBI single of his own, scoring Presley. Walker was thrown out at home trying to score for the second out of the inning. Jones lined out to left field to end the inning, but the Bucs had cut the lead in half, then only trailing by a 4-2 score.
The Bucs got things going again in the seventh inning. After Jose Tabata led off with a walk, Marte singled to put runners on first second with nobody out. Andrew McCutchen smacked a pinch hit single to load the bases with the heart of the Pirates’ order due up. Walker smacked a sacrifice fly, scoring Tabata to bring them within a single run. Alvarez drew a walk to load the bases once again. Gaby Sanchez hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly, scoring Marte and tying the game after seven innings.
Harrison led off the 10th with a single, and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Barmes. Later in the frame, Marte was intentionally walked and Russell Martin hit a pinch-hit single, driving in the winning run in walk-off fashion.
There’s no doubt about it…something special is happening this year with the Pirates. This afternoon’s game was a perfect example of a game the Bucs shouldn’t have won, but found a way to do so anyway. Cole didn’t have his best stuff, giving up four runs on six hits in five innings. But the bullpen was once again spectacular, and the offense battled throughout the afternoon, finding a way to put runs up on the board. Granted, the Marlins are not a good team, but it’s difficult to beat a team three straight times, and by doing so, the Pirates concluded a 9-2 home stand.
The Bucs will get back at it tomorrow night, kicking off a six-game road trip against the Colorado Rockies. First pitch is slated for 8:40pm.
Record vs. Marlins: 4-2
Record vs. N.L. East: 20-14
Record at Home: 41-20
Overall Record: 70-44
Let’s Go Bucs!