Pittsburgh Pirates Ride Happ’s Arm To Win Over Miami Marlins


The Pittsburgh Pirates have captured six of their last seven match-ups as they downed the Marlins 5-2 Monday to open their four-game series in Miami. With a record of 75-48, the crew of the Jolly Roger are 27 games over .500 this season.

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The spotlight shone, in part, on Gregory Polanco as he went 4-for-5 at the plate. Andrew McCutchen, who was playing in his 1,000th career game, collected his 30th double in contributing to the attack. The Pirates also got another solid performance from their starting pitching.

Pittsburgh starter J.A. Happ claimed his second victory against one loss since coming on board with the Pirates. He scattered four hits over six scoreless innings. The 32-year-old Happ struck out six and walked only one. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound left-hander fired 67 of his 94 pitches for strikes in facing 22 enemy hitters.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told Adam Berry and Joe Frisaro on MLB.com about Happ, “It’s not like this popped out of nowhere and he kissed a Blarney Stone and all of a sudden he can pitch. The guy’s got a good arm.”

With two out and two on base at the top of the third, McCutchen hit a fly ball to right for his double off Miami starter Tom Koehler to score Polanco and Starling Marte. The statisticians at the Elias Sports Bureau report that no player in Pirates history has had as many hits and home runs over the course of their first 1,000 games as McCutchen.

Neil Walker came through at the plate with one out in the seventh. He smacked a sacrifice fly to center off the Marlins’ Brian Ellington that drove in Marte with the game-winning run.

Polanco made the score 4-1 in favor of the Pirates when with two out and Sean Rodriguez on third, he singled on a ground ball to center to score Rodriguez. The fifth and final run came in the ninth with the bases loaded and two out. Jordy Mercer drew a walk from Miami’s Bryan Morris to push Jung Ho Kang across the plate.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates /

Pittsburgh Pirates

J.T Realmuto got the Marlins their first run in the bottom of the seventh. With one out and Marcell Ozuma on third, Realmuto grounded out sharply to third off Pittsburgh’s Jared Hughes. It was enough to bring home Ozuma.

Antonio Bastardo was charged with the other earned run as he surrendered consecutive hits with nobody out to start off the ninth. The Marlins added one more run as Realmuto grounded into another force out off Mark Melancon that drove in Ozuma for the second time in the game. Miami went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position on the night and left a total of six men on base.

Melancon picked up his 40th save in closing out the ninth. The 30-year-old right-hander kept Miami in check as he did not give up a hit in facing two batters. He threw all three of his pitches for strikes. The veteran closer has the most saves in the majors.

Koehler threw six innings for the Marlins. The 29-year-old right-hander saw his record fall to 8-12, surrendering two earned runs on seven hits. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound righty struck out six and walked four.

There was a moment of controversy in the top of the eighth. Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg ejected Miami pitcher Erik Cordier when he hit Rodriguez, the only batter he faced, on the left hand.


Up Next: The Pirates and Marlins meet Tuesday in the second match-up of their four-game set. The Marlins will give the ball to 25-year-old Brad Hand (3-3, 4.46 ERA/1.30 WHIP). The left-hander has hurled 46 strikeouts over 68.2 innings pitched.

Pittsburgh will counter with 31-year-old Charlie Morton (8-4, 4.06 ERA/1.29 WHIP). The right-hander has 71 strikeouts over 95.1 innings pitched. The contest is set to get underway at 7:10 p.m., and it will be on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.

From The Clipboard: The game lasted 3:21, and there were 17,644 in the seats at Marlins Park…The Bucs were 64-59 after 123 games last season…The Pirates have gone 22-8 against the N.L. East this season…Pedro Alvarez has hit 104 home runs since the start of the 2012 season. It ranks him second among all N.L. players in that time behind the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, who has 125 homers…The Pirates are 58-10 when they score four or more runs.

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