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Diaz hits first HR, commits key miscue in loss

April 13, 2018

MIAMI -- The weather may have been decidedly warmer, but the Pirates' bats went cold in a 7-2 loss to the Marlins in on Friday in the first of a three-game series at Marlins Park.The Pirates came into the game as one of the league's top teams offensively, but it

MIAMI -- The weather may have been decidedly warmer, but the Pirates' bats went cold in a 7-2 loss to the Marlins in on Friday in the first of a three-game series at Marlins Park.
The Pirates came into the game as one of the league's top teams offensively, but it was the Marlins that circled the bases with regularity. J.B. Shuck had a career-high four hits in his debut with Miami, tying a franchise record, and Justin Bour blasted a two-run homer to pace the Fish.
It took the Pirates until the fifth inning to do any damage of their own. Corey Dickerson extended his hitting streak to eight games with a line-drive single to open the fifth inning. He's batting .469 (15-for-32) during that stretch with seven doubles, a triple, home run and 8 RBIs.
One batter later, he scored when catcher Elias Diaz hit his first home run of the season. Diaz hit the first pitch from Marlins starter Dillon Peters just over the left-field fence on a line, giving the Pirates a short-lived 2-1 lead.
With an exit velocity of 108.6 mph, Diaz's blast had a launch angle of just 17 degrees, but it was still enough to clear the fence, which was lowered from 11 1/2 to 7 feet in 2016 as part of a renovation project meant to provide more offense. It did, and the Bucs took a 2-1 lead.
But Diaz's home run was one of only four hits off Peters, who entered the game with a 9.35 ERA. The left-hander went six innings, striking out three and walking two.
Miami answered, scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning -- all on a sacrifice fly ball off the bat of Starlin Castro. With the bases loaded and one out, Castro's fly ball plated Peters. Diaz caught the throw up the first-base line and attempted to nab Miguel Rojas, who was tagging from first base. But the throw sailed into center field, a spot vacated by Starling Marte, who was backing up Gregory Polanco in right field.

Derek Dietrich was able to score from second on the throw and Rojas raced around the bases and scored as well to give Miami a 4-2 lead.
"He had a play at second base, he threw it high. I thought he made a good read to go get the ball," said manager Clint Hurdle, who felt the throw home should have been directed instead to third base. "It's too long of a throw. You're up a run, you give up that run, you make that throw to third or cut it off."
Diaz said he was just trying to be aggressive on the play.
"I just saw the runner and thought I had a chance on that play," Diaz said. "When I saw the ball [sail] I just thought, 'Oh my God.' But I'm going to continue to throw the ball. I'm going to make errors because I'm human."
If that weren't bizarre enough, the Marlins added a run in the sixth inning to take a 5-2 lead on a sacrifice bunt. Peters bunted down the first-base line, and both Diaz and Pirates reliever Kyle Crick, who was called up earlier in the day, chased after the ball.
Diaz called off the Crick, fielded it and threw to first for the out. However, neither got back to cover the plate and Shuck took advantage.

"We left the door wide open and they ran through it like Major League teams do," Hurdle said.

Diaz's throwing error in the fifth inning was his first since Aug. 27, 2017, and snapped a 31-game errorless streak.
It allowed the Marlins to take a 4-2 lead they never relinquished, but Pirates starting pitcher Chad Kuhl (1-1) had no problem with Diaz attempting to make a play.
"Ninety-nine times out of 100 I feel like he makes that play. I'll take the aggressiveness," Kuhl said.
David Freese played in his 1,000th Major League game on Friday. The 2011 World Series MVP and 2012 National League All-Star started at third base and hit fifth in the lineup.
"That's a pretty cool testament," Hurdle said. "Not many guys get to do that."
Dickerson made a 5-star sliding catch in left field on a line drive off the bat of Marlins pitcher Peters, saving a run in the second inning. After Kuhl uncorked a wild pitch -- allowing the Marlins' first run to score and moving another runner to third base -- Peters lined a Kuhl fastball down the left-field line. With a hit probability of 72 percent, according to Statcast™, Dickerson robbed the Marlins pitcher of a potential RBI hit with a good jump off the bat and a quick sprint towards the left-field line. He covered the 50 feet needed in 3.3 seconds to make the grab and end the inning, keeping the Marlins' lead at 1-0.

"Oh my, Dickerson's done a nice job in left field making plays," Hurdle said.
"That ball was mauled. The launch angle may have been 10 [degrees]. Reminds me back in the day when you used to see Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus hit 1-irons." -- Hurdle, on Diaz's line-drive homer in the fifth inning
Jameson Taillon looks to build on the one-hit shutout he tossed at Cincinnati when he takes the mound Saturday in the middle game of this three-game set at Marlins Park. Miami is scheduled to send right-hander Trevor Richards to the mound for the 7:10 p.m. ET start.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to based in Miami.