MIAMI -- Four is fantastic for the Miami Marlins. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, this four-game series was a disaster. Christian Yelich hit a two-out, walk-off double in the 12th inning to lead the Miami Marlins to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Marlins Park on Thursday night. The Marlins (29-25) are 3-0-2 in four-game series this season, sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers and taking three of four from the Tamp Bay Rays and the Pirates. For Pittsburgh (29-23), it was more than just the three straight losses to end this series, pushing the Pirates to eight games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. The bigger issue for the Pirates was the four starters who left Thursday's game due to injuries -- catcher Francisco Cervelli (right foot), center fielder Andrew McCutchen (right thumb), first baseman David Freese (right wrist) and shortstop Jordy Mercer (left elbow). All but McCutchen were hit by pitches. "It's spray and command," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the Marlins pitchers hitting his batters. "I don't think any of them were intentional. It's a team (Miami) looking to find some identity on pitching and not having command." The Marlins had multiple heroes, but one of the biggest was 42-year-old center fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who had two hits, one walk, one steal, one run scored and two impressive grabs. Suzuki made a sliding catch with two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning, robbing Pirates pitcher Juan Nicasio of what likely would have been a two-run single. In the fourth, Suzuki raced back to the center-field wall and took extra bases away from Kang. Suzuki also started the winning rally, drawing a one-out walk in the 12th. Martin Prado then nearly hit into an inning-ending double play but hustled down the line to keep the rally alive. That's when Yelich pulled his double to right-center to score Prado with the winning run. "I got a good pitch and found a gap," said Yelich, who produced the fourth walk-off hit of his career and the first for the Marlins this season. "(The Pirates) are a good team. To win this series was big for us." Rookie reliever Nick Wittgren (1-0) pitched three perfect innings, striking out three, to earn his first career win. Pirates reliever A.J. Schugel (1-2) took the loss, giving up just one hit -- the one to Yelich -- in 2 2/3 innings. The game lasted nearly four hours (3:54), and, early on, it appeared the story would be Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen, who pitched six no-hit innings. He had his no-hit bid broken up when Jung Ho Kang hit a double to lead off the seventh. Joining Adam Conley, it was the second night in a row in which a Marlins pitcher had held the Pirates hitless for at least 5 2/3 innings. "I don't ever being involved in two games when we were no-hit through five and then no-hit through six," Hurdle said. Miami's bullpen, though, couldn't hold a 3-0 lead. Pittsburgh rallied with a two-run double by Matt Joyce off reliever Dustin McGowan in the seventh. It was Joyce's second two-RBI hit in as many games. McGowan was one strike from getting out of that inning, and the same thing happened to Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough, who was one strike from ending the game in the ninth. The Marlins were resting their top three relievers -- A.J. Ramos, David Phelps and Mike Dunn -- and went to Barraclough for what would have been his first career save. That backfired as John Jaso hit a run-scoring single on a 3-2 pitch. "We knew we had some guys down tonight," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "But I thought some guys stepped up. It's what you have to do because we made a commitment early in the game that we were not going to use Phelps, Ramos or Dunn." The Marlins got away with that gamble -- barely. NOTES: Pirates RF Gregory Polanco (left foot) missed his second straight start. ... Marlins 2B Derek Dietrich, who suffered a bone bruise to his left wrist on Wednesday, didn't play. ... Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton, who played Wednesday for the first time in more than a week, wasn't in Thursday's original lineup after experiencing more soreness on his right side. But, two hours before first pitch, Stanton was announced as a starter, and Cole Gillespie was scratched. ... Marlins CF Marcell Ozuna, who batted .411 in May but is hitless in his past nine at-bats, was given Thursday's start off as a rest day. ... After the first round of fan balloting, neither Pittsburgh nor Miami have position players in the top four at any spot. ... By using LHP Mike Dunn on Wednesday, the Marlins ended a three-week streak of not having used a lefty reliever. For Dunn, it was his first career stint on the disabled list.
Marlins outlast Pirates in extras
The Sports Xchange | Jun 3