The Pittsburgh Pirates extended their winning streak to six Wednesday as they beat the Miami Marlins 5-2 at PNC Park. The Bucs concluded their eight-game homestand 6-2 with back-to-back sweeps of the New York Mets and the Marlins.
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The last time the crew of the Jolly Roger won six in a row was June 2013 when they won nine consecutive contests from the 20th to the 30th. The victory allowed Clint Hurdle’s squad to improve their record to 24-22. The Pirates have gone 7-0 at home this season in afternoon matchups.
The starting pitching for the Bucs at the end of May kept rolling along as Gerrit Cole (7-2) collected his seventh victory. The 24-year-old permitted two earned runs on seven hits over seven innings. While he did surrender two home runs, the Newport Beach, Calif. native did not walk a batter and struck out seven. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound righthander was efficient the majority of the afternoon as fired 57 of his 81 pitches for strikes in facing 27 batters.
Pittsburgh’s bullpen had another round of solid performances. Tony Watson came on in the eighth and added his 10th hold of the season. The 6-foot-4, 227-pound lefthander threw 10 of his 14 pitches for strikes in facing four hitters. Closing it out in the ninth was Mark Melancon. The 30-year-old hurled 14 of his 17 pitches for strikes as he also faced four batters. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound righthander recorded his 12th save.
The Bucs brought all their cannons to bear in the home half of the seventh with two out. Josh Harrison got the rally going with single to shallow right off Marlins reliever Mike Dunn that brought Chris Stewart across the plate. Pedro Alvarez went to left center with a single that scored Jose Tabata.
The Marlins called on Sam Dyson to turn back the Pirates, but Starling Marte worked him for a walk with the bases loaded that brought home Harrison. Jung Ho Kang added to the score sheet with a single to right center drove in Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen. It was the 10th comeback victory this season for the Pirates and the first when trailing after six innings.
“We’re making it tough for the other team to get us out,” McCutchen told Will Graves of the Associated Press, “We scratch and claw and that’s what makes us a good team.”
Miami starter Brad Hand kept the Pirates offense in check as he scattered four hits in five innings of work. The 6-foot-3, 219-pound righthander struck out two and walked none. The 25-year-old delivered 43 of his 74 pitches for strikes in facing 19 batters.
Justin Bour gave the Marlins an early 1-0 lead in the second with a 385 foot home run to right. Christian Yelich homered in the top of the seventh on a shot to deep right field to make 2-0 in favor of the Fish. However, at the end of the day, Miami fell to 2-8 under new manager Dan Jennings.
Up Next: The Pirates pack their bags and fly out to San Diego Friday for a four-game series with the Padres at Petco Park. It will be a pair of righthanders in the first matchup. San Diego will send Ian Kennedy (2-4, 6.11 ERA/1.39 WHIP) to the hill while the Bucs will go with A.J. Burnett (4-1, 1.37 ERA/1.10 WHIP). The first pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. and the contest will be on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game went 2:38 and there were 33,238 in the seats at PNC Park…The upcoming road trip will see the Bucs play 10 games in 11 days on the road…They will be back at PNC Park Monday, June 8 to host the Milwaukee Brewers…Coming into the Wednesday matinee, Pirates catcher Chris Stewart has thrown out 7 of 14 baserunners attempting to steal.