Polanco helps power Pittsburgh Pirates past Marlins in 5-2 victory


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On Monday night, coming off a Sunday night win against the San Francisco Giants, the Pittsburgh Pirates (74-48) traveled to Miami, for a brief road trip, to face the Marlins (50-74). Gregory Polanco had four hits with one RBI to help lead the Pirates to the 5-2 victory over Miami in game one of the three-game set.

Pittsburgh sent out left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ against Marlins’ starter Tom Koehler. J.A. Happ tossed six scoreless innings, allowing only four hits to go with six strikeouts and one free pass.

The scoring didn’t start until the top of the third inning, with Polanco on third and Starling Marte on first, when Andrew McCutchen hit a double to deep right field, scoring Polanco and Marte and giving the Pirates the early 2-0 lead.

Later in the bottom of the seventh, with Marcell Ozuna on third base, J.T. Realmuto grounded out to third base, scoring Ozuna and cutting into the Pittsburghlead, now at 3-1.

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In the top of the eighth inning, some balls started to get away from the Marlin pitchers. After Marte was hit by a pitch and McCutchen faced some chin music, Sean Rodriguez was hit by Erik Cordier, who was then tossed by home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg.

Later in the inning, with Rodriguez on third, Polanco singled to center field, scoring Rodriguez and extending the Pirates’ lead to 4-1.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates brought in closer Mark Melancon, looking for his 40th save of the season, after Antonio Bastardo couldn’t close out the game. With the bases loaded and one out, J.T. Realmuto grounded into what appeared to be a game-ending double play. But after review, Realmuto was ruled safe at first base, allowing Ozuna to score, cutting the Pirate lead to 5-2. That run would not be enough, however, as Adeiny Hechavarria would ground into a six-four double play to end the game.

What Stood Out

Melancon recorded his major league-leading 40th save on the season. With that save, Melancon joins a group of select few in Pirates’ history, including, in more recent memory, Joel Hanrahan. Melancon is currently six saves away from tying a club record set by Mike Williams, who in 2002 recorded 46 saves for the Pirates.

Polanco also stood out, as he accrued a season-high four hits, one shy of last year’s single game best of five, coming against these very same Marlins.

What’s Next

On Tuesday night, the Pirates send out right-hander Charlie Morton (8-4, 4.06 ERA) against Marlins’ left-hander Brad Hand (3-3, 4.46 ERA). Last time out against the Giants, Morton went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four hits while recording eight strikeouts and two walks in a shutout victory.

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