Rally vs. Marlins 'pen lifts Bucs to 6th straight
PITTSBURGH -- Led by another strong start from Gerrit Cole, the Pirates rallied to score five runs with two outs in the seventh inning and beat the Marlins, 5-2, on Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park.
The Pirates have won a season-high six straight games, completing back-to-back sweeps against the Mets and Marlins. It's their longest winning streak since June 20-30, 2013.
"We're headed in the right direction," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "You've got to take ownership of your season. You've got to take ownership of your club. These guys know we have talent. For way too long, we were a good team playing mediocre baseball. So you're not a good team, really. You've got to connect the dots. You've got to put the parts of the game in play."
Like Pittsburgh's previous five wins, this one started on the mound, with Cole permitting only two solo homers to Justin Bour and Christian Yelich over seven innings. He worked efficiently, striking out seven with no walks on only 81 pitches.
But the Marlins carried a 2-0 lead into the seventh, when reliever Mike Dunn quickly retired the first two batters of the inning. Dunn then served up a pair of singles, giving way to reliever Sam Dyson.
Josh Harrison and pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez each singled off Dyson to tie the game, and Starling Marte drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Pirates on top. Jung Ho Kang singled home two more runs off reliever Carter Capps to open up a three-run lead.
"Just the fact that we could get one across was big for us. To do five runs on two outs was unbelievable," Cole said. "You can't say enough about the way they went through that inning and grinded out at-bats."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Helping Hand: Making his first start of the season after spending time in the bullpen, Marlins left-hander Brad Hand was able to get through five innings without giving up a run. He scattered four hits, didn't walk a batter and was in line for the win before the 'pen faltered. More
In a pinch: With two outs in the seventh and a man on first base, Jose Tabata entered the game for Cole and knocked a pinch-hit single that bounced off Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon. After Harrison made it a one-run game, Alvarez pinch-hit for shortstop Jordy Mercer and slapped a single the other way, sneaking it into center field for the game-tying hit.
No relief: Dyson replaced Dunn in the bottom of the seventh needing just one out to escape with two runners on. But Dyson couldn't put the Pirates away, allowing two RBI singles and a run-scoring walk to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead. More
Walk it out: Marte is not the Pirates' most patient hitter, entering Wednesday's game with a 5 percent walk rate on the year. But his patient at-bat benefited the Pirates in the seventh, as he took a full-count, 96-mph fastball from Dyson to give Pittsburgh a free go-ahead run. More
"I only want to win the game," Marte said. "No matter what I'm doing, if it helps the team, I'm happy for it."
"I fell behind guys so they were swinging at everything over the plate. I might as well put it on a tee for them." -- Dyson
"I just think it's this team's identity, just fighting, always trying to capitalize on any opportunity, not being over until the last pitch is thrown. This is a team that's resilient." -- Alvarez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cole is 11-2 with a 2.51 ERA and 111 strikeouts in his last 15 starts, dating back to Sept. 7. He leads the Major Leagues in wins during that span. Wednesday marked Cole's 28th win in 51 big league starts. He was the first Pirates pitcher in more than 100 years to win 27 of his first 50 games in the Majors; the last to do so was Nick Maddox, who went 28-11 at that point of his career in 1908.
Marlins: The Marlins have a day off on Thursday to recuperate before returning to NL East play with a road series against the Mets, with Dan Haren starting Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Miami hopes that its second trip to Citi Field will bode better than the last. The Marlins were swept in a four-game series in April.
Pirates: The Bucs headed out west immediately after Wednesday's game, as they will kick off a 10-game road trip Thursday against the Padres at Petco Park at 10:05 p.m. ET. They'll play four games in San Diego followed by a pair of three-game sets in San Francisco and Atlanta. Veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett will carry a 1.37 ERA into Thursday's start.