On Thursday night, looking to close out the series on a high note, the Pittsburgh Pirates (76-49) sent out ace Gerrit Cole (14-7, 2.49 ERA), who was looking to earn his elusive 15th win of the season. Cole would get that win, going 7 1/3 innings on the night, allowed only one run on five hits, with five strikeouts and zero free passes in a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins (51-76).
After 1 2/3 innings of play, the Pirates led the game 1-0 after Neil Walker hit an RBI sacrifice fly to score Francisco Cervelli from third. Cervelli only lasted an two innings after being ejected in the bottom of the third by home-plate umpire Alan Porter. Cervelli was ejected for debating a pitch that was low and outside the strike zone; Cervelli would be replaced by Chris Stewart.
Off to the top of the fourth inning, when Pedro Alvarez homered off of Miami starter Justin Nicolino (2-2, 3.65 ERA) to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 advantage. The home run was Alvarez’s 21st homer of the season, and yet another solo shot.
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In the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates brought in closer Mark Melancon to close out the game, which he would do and earn his major league-leading 41st save of the season, as Pittsburgh won by the final score of 2-1.
What Stood Out
With save number 41, Melancon is five saves shy of tying a clubhouse record of 46 saves, set by former Pirate Mike Williams in 2002.
Gerrit Cole had another strong outing and finally earned his 15th win of the season. Cole is currently in second place in wins in the National League, behind only the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner and the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta.
On Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates return to Pittsburgh to open a weekend three-game series against the Colorado Rockies (51-74). In the series opener, the Pirates will send out lefty Francisco Liriano (9-6, 3.23 ERA) against the Rockies’ rookie Jon Gray (0-0, 5.94 ERA). In his last outing against the Giants, Liriano went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, to go with three walks and five strikeouts in a win last Sunday night.