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Fernandez outduels Cole, Marlins edge Pirates

May 31, 2016

MIAMI -- They were the cream of the 2011 Draft, and they were both on top of their respective games on Tuesday night at Marlins Park. But it was Jose Fernandez who ended up getting the best of Gerrit Cole.Fernandez, the 14th overall pick in 2011, threw seven shutout innings,

MIAMI -- They were the cream of the 2011 Draft, and they were both on top of their respective games on Tuesday night at Marlins Park. But it was Jose Fernandez who ended up getting the best of Gerrit Cole.
Fernandez, the 14th overall pick in 2011, threw seven shutout innings, striking out six in Miami's 3-1 win over the Pirates. Cole, the top overall pick of his class, was charged with three runs in 6 1/3 innings, but he held Miami scoreless until the seventh inning.
Both starters showed why they are among the rising group of starters in the National League.
"We came out on top today, not taking anything from Cole," said Fernandez, who improved to 8-2 on the season after going 6-0 in the month of May. "Gerrit Cole was very impressive, like he always is.
"We talk a little bit about it [the '11 class]. We have some good ones now in the big leagues doing good things. It's just fun. It's fun to play this game. Lucky to be here."
Ichiro passes Hall of Famer Crawford
The Marlins, who left eight on base through six innings, broke through with one out in the seventh. Ichiro Suzuki collected his second single of the night, and he scored on Christian Yelich's RBI to right. J.T. Realmuto, who singled, scored on a wild pitch, and Yelich dashed home on Justin Bour's fielder's-choice grounder.

The Pirates avoided being shut out for the first time this year, scoring off closer A.J. Ramos on Gregory Polanco's sacrifice fly to deep center field with the bases loaded in the ninth.

"He just missed it. That shows the resilience of our team, man," second baseman Josh Harrison said. "Ninth inning, still able to get guys on base and have a chance to win the game or go into extra innings -- that's all you can ask for, fight until the last out."
Pirates follow script, but can't win duel
Ramos followed by striking out Jung Ho Kang and getting Starling Marte to fly out, stranding the tying runs on base and earning his 16th save in as many chances.

Ace of Marlins Park: The Marlins needed Fernandez to step up like an ace, and the right-hander certainly delivered. In control from the start, the 23-year-old breezed through a powerful Pittsburgh lineup in his seven-inning, six-strikeout stint. It was Fernandez's 11th start of the season, and he didn't walk a batter for the first time. That helped keep his pitch count down. Fernandez exited after 88 pitches and his team up by three. Fernandez has now won his last seven starts, posting an ERA of 1.60 in that stretch. In his career at Marlins Park, he is 22-1 with a 1.59 ERA.
"Jose was really good again today," manager Don Mattingly said. "I think we're seeing it every time out. It's almost like he's getting better every time." More >
First chance, only chance: The Pirates managed to get one runner in scoring position all night against Fernandez. Harrison reached on an infield single to lead off the third inning, and Cole's one-out sacrifice bunt pushed him to second base. But Fernandez struck out John Jaso, leaving Harrison stranded at second.
Crisis averted: Cole narrowly escaped one early jam, as the Marlins put runners on second and third base with no outs in the third inning. He struck out Yelich, tagged out Ichiro on a fielder's-choice grounder and caught Bour looking at a 98-mph fastball for the third out. After stranding two runners, Cole pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

"He rolled his sleeves up and pitched a heck of a ballgame for us," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Very gutsy performance."
Dietrich starts double play: The Marlins squandered a bases-full, one-out situation in the sixth inning, and the Pirates applied some pressure in the seventh when Andrew McCutchen singled to right. Ichiro made a nice play in right field, cutting the ball off and keeping McCutchen at first. It proved big because Polanco ripped a hard grounder at second baseman Derek Dietrich, who made the stop and started a 4-6-3 double play. It was a big moment for Fernandez, who was able to retire Kang on a comeback grounder, putting him at 88 pitches through seven.

"He hit the ball hard," Fernandez said. "Obviously that lineup is a very good lineup. We came out on top today."
"Both of those guys were tough. You know going into it, you're going to have to execute when you get chance. We got him in trouble a couple of times, but he was able to execute good pitches and get out of it. We were able to push a couple across in the seventh, and that's all we needed." -- Yelich, on Miami winning the duel

"You could feel as the game went on, the first one to score was going to have the best chance of winning." -- Harrison
When Fernandez struck out Jaso to end the second inning, it was the right-hander's 52nd strikeout in the month, establishing a club record for May. Ricky Nolasco fanned 51 in 2008. Fernandez finished the month with 56 strikeouts.
With one out in the seventh inning, Cole yanked a 97-mph fastball and walked Marcell Ozuna. But the ball skipped past catcher Francisco Cervelli, allowing Realmuto to score from third base. Cervelli quickly recovered and fired a throw to Cole, who tagged Realmuto's foot. Realmuto was ruled safe, and the call stood after a Pirates challenge and a one-minute, 17-second review.
Pirates: Left-hander Jonathon Niese (5-2, 4.42 ERA) will start for the Pirates on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. Niese has turned a corner after a rough start, going 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA over his last four starts and pitching at least six innings each time out.
Marlins:Adam Conley (3-3, 4.15 ERA) will go for the Marlins on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Pirates. The lefty is 1-3 (5.91) this year at Marlins Park.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.