MIAMI -- Justin Bour launched his fourth homer of the season, but it wasn't enough to overcome a career-best day at the plate by Starling Marte, as the Pirates defeated the Marlins, 7-3, on Sunday -- which was Jackie Robinson Day -- in the rubber game of their three-game series
MIAMI -- Justin Bour launched his fourth homer of the season, but it wasn't enough to overcome a career-best day at the plate by Starling Marte, as the Pirates defeated the Marlins, 7-3, on Sunday -- which was Jackie Robinson Day -- in the rubber game of their three-game series at Marlins Park.
The Marlins still are seeking their first series win of the season as they head out on a nine-game road trip. Miami went 1-5 on this homestand, with its only win coming Friday night in the series opener against Pittsburgh, before dropping a disheartening 1-0 contest on Saturday.
"This was a little rougher one [to lose] because we win the first game with pretty much everything going right -- we pitch well, we have great bats. Then yesterday, had opportunities to basically win a series right there," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
The Marlins had an ideal start on Sunday in their bid to take the series when they loaded the bases on a trio of singles from J.B. Shuck, Miguel Rojas and Starlin Castro. But the Marlins mustered only one run off Pirates starter Ivan Nova, and didn't score again until Bour went deep in the seventh.
"Had bases loaded with nobody out and end up with one [run]. We were just not able to hold them from there," Mattingly said.
The Pirates gave Nova the lead with three runs in the third, tacked on another run in the fifth and stretched the advantage to 6-1 in the top of the seventh.
Marte put the finishing touches on a 5-for-5 performance by leading off the top of the ninth with a solo homer to left. It was the Pirates' 13th hit of the game.
Marlins starter Jose Urena was lifted after five innings and 90 pitches. Miami's Opening Day starter still is seeking his first win of 2018, after allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk. He also hit a batter and had five strikeouts.
"I thought Jose was OK," Mattingly said of the right-hander, who is now 0-3 with a 5.57 ERA on the season. "He just really hasn't been able to put the whole package together. He's had sections of games that have been really good. He's had some rough starts. [We're] hoping he gets on a roll, and he just wasn't able to do that. Give those guys over there some credit for sure. They've got a good hitting ballclub. We weren't able to slow them down enough."
Nova had nine strikeouts and stymied the Marlins' bats for most of the game, before Bour hit a pinch-hit two-run shot in the seventh into the right-field stands. The homer came on an 83-mph offspeed pitch that had an exit velocity of 110 mph, traveled 405 feet and had a launch angle of 24 degrees, according to Statcast™. Bour's homer came on Nova's 106th and final pitch that sliced Pittsburgh's lead to 6-3.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Plunking the Bucs: Urena hit Josh Harrison, the Pirates' leadoff hitter, with a pitch in the top of the third inning that struck Harrison's left hand. Harrison left the game after being examined by trainers. The Pirates then reciprocated in the bottom of the inning when Nova's first pitch hit Shuck in the lower back.
"On 0-2, we're not trying to hit their guy," Mattingly said. "Sometimes you feel like you've got to do something on the other side, and I guess since it's done the right way, it's first pitch, there's no doubt about why he did it. He did it in the right spot and it's over. When it's done right, the message is fine -- I don't think it was a war."
Urena's four runs allowed halted a stretch of six straight games in which the Marlins' starting pitchers had limited opponents to three or fewer runs.
The Marlins begin a nine-game road trip in New York on Monday with a 6:35 ET interleague game against the Yankees. Left-hander Caleb Smith (0-1, 4.73) gets the start for the Marlins in the first game of the two-game series. He'll be opposed by Masahiro Tanaka (2-1, 5.19).
Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.