Brad Hand departed the game for the Miami Marlins in the ninth inning, however by then it was too little too late for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hand [4-3] just missed his first ever complete game but threw a career-high eight-plus innings in a 5-2 victory Tuesday night against the Pirates which evened the four-game series at one victory apiece.
Prior to the ninth inning, the top half of the first presented the Pirates high point against Hand.
With two outs in the first inning, Andrew McCutchen recorded his 31st double of the season on a 2-1 fastball. Aramis Ramirez then singled on a 2-0 fastball. Third base coach Rick Sofield waved McCutchen, who slide safely at home.
Charlie Morton [8-5] started for the Pirates and lost his first decision since July 22; a span of five starts.
Morton put up three zeroes to start his night, however his off-speed pitches began to falter and so did he. Dee Gordon led off with a 3-2 single. He would then steal a base, his 42nd of the season. Morton then allowed a double to Justin Bour, his 13th, which tied the game at one.
The Marlins took the lead for good an inning later. Christian Yelich, who was activated from the disabled list prior to the game, recorded a lead-off single. J.T. Realmuto singled to center, however McCutchen misplayed the ball which allowed Yelich to score the go-ahead run. McCutchen was given an error on the play.
Gregory Polanco limited further damage in the inning doubling off Realmuto at third after catching a flyball. It was the second outfield assist of the game as Starling Marte had one in the bottom of the third inning.
A three-run sixth allowed the Marlins to create separation. Gordon once again singled and stole his second of four bases on the night. This gives him 45 on the season. Martin Prado and Bour then added back-to-back doubled to stretch the lead to 4-1 ending Morton’s night.
Jared Hughes then came on in relief and threw a wild pitch which allowed Bour to reach third base. Yelich then doubled to bring the fifth run home.
In the ninth inning, Ramirez and Francisco Cervelli each singled which allowed A.J. Ramos to come in since it was now a save situation. Neil Walker came in to pinch-hit but swung on a full count at what likely was ball four. Josh Harrison then singled which loaded the bases for another pinch-hitter, Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez grounded out and the Marlins went for the sure out at first base allowing a run to score. Sean Rodriguez, the third pinch-hitter of the inning, worked a 2-2 count before flying out to center field ending the game and allowing Ramos to earn his 22nd save.
Both McCutchen [foot] and Cervelli [ankle] were reported to have checked out fine according to manager Clint Hurdle. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Cervelli was limping on both feet following the game and stated that he took a foul ball to his right foot and jammed his left foot in a spot.
The series continues Wednesday when Jeff Locke [6-8 4.56 ERA] faces Chris Narveson [1-0 3.86 ERA]. Locke is 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins.
Of note: A.J. Burnett threw a simulated game prior to Tuesday’s contest. He threw 30-35 pitches all of which were fastballs. Burnett called it step one and that he would go from here… Pedro Florimon has cleared waivers and was sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis. Florimon batted .105 and was designated for assignment hours after recording the game winning hit Aug. 18 against the Arizona Diamondbacks… 2015 supplemental first-round pick Ke’Bryan Hayes was promoted earlier Wednesday to the West Virginia Black Bears. He batted .333 with 48 hits and 13 RBI. Additionally 2015 second-round pick Kevin Kramer was promoted to the West Virginia Power from the Black Bears. Kramer ranked second on the Black Bears with a .305 batting average while also recording 54 hits and 17 RBI.
Photo credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo