Gerrit Cole pitched another fantastic game and the bats came alive in the seventh inning to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to their sixth straight win and third in a row over the Miami Marlins. This game also capped a second consecutive sweep for the Pirates and moved their record to 24-22.
The Marlins got on the board first when Justin Bour hit his third home run of the year. This would represent the only run until the top of the seventh inning when Christian Yelich added a second solo home run to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the seventh, it looked like Cole would be tagged with a most undeserving loss, or, at best, a no decision. But the Pirate offense took advantage of the Miami bullpen and went to work.
With two outs in the inning, Chris Stewart singled and Jose Tabata followed that up with another single to move him to second. Marlins General Manager/Manager Dan Jennings removed Mike Dunn and brought in Sam Dyson with the top of the Pirates lineup coming up.
Josh Harrison singled on a pitch to right field, giving the Pirates their first run of the ball game. Pedro Alvarez was brought in to pinch hit in place of the struggling Jordy Mercer and promptly singled to center, scoring Tabata. Dyson then walked Andrew McCutchen to load the bases. The usually free-swinging Starling Marte showed uncharacteristic patience at the plate and drew a walk, bringing Harrison in and giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
At this point Jennings had seen enough and brought in Carter Capps, he of the infamous/borderline illegal delivery, to hopefully finish the inning. Jung Ho Kang singled up the middle, plating both Alvarez and McCutchen. Neil Walker, who started the inning with a fly out to center, ended the inning with a fly out to left field.
What Stood Out
It seems that lately it’s always the pitching that stands out and yesterday’s game was no different. Cole limited the Marlins’ offense to just two runs which came from solo home runs. He did not walk anyone and struck out seven. Cole continues to pitch like an elite starter and at this point should garner serious consideration for being the NL’s starting pitcher at the All Star game.
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The seventh inning also stood out, specifically in that the Pirates were able to score many runs with two outs. Creating offense with two outs is something that good teams can do, and the Pirates did it very well today. Jordy Mercer and Neil Walker were the only two hitters to not register at least one hit, run or RBI. Having such a balanced offensive attack will make pitching to this unit very difficult, since the opposition will not have many sure outs to look forward to in the lineup.
The Pirates will look to keep the winning streak going when they begin a four-game series in San Diego tonight. The game will get underway at 10:10 PM EST as A.J. Burnett goes for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Ian Kennedy for the Friars. Petco Park is an extremely pitcher friendly ballpark, so Burnett may be able to keep the streak going given how well he has pitched overall this season. The Padres are 3-7 in their last ten games and this series represents another good opportunity to gain ground in the NL Central.