As the Pirates got lucky missing the best two pitchers of the opposing team the past two series, they luckily missed facing Jose Fernandez in this this series. With last night’s matchup looking quite favorable for the Pirates, many fans thought this was the weekend to see the Pirates enter the Wild Card for the first time.
With the Marlins coming into town, the matchup of Gerrit Cole vs. Tom Koehler looked quite favorable. With these two teams battling for a wild card spot, this series has potential on being a must win down the stretch. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh was unable to capitalize in the first game as they lost 6-5.
Pittsburgh decided they were not going to be outdone as David Freese hit a two run shot to center field that went 409 feet that took a 2-1 lead. It all started with Starling Marte hitting an infield single to shortstop Miguel Rojas. Two batters later, with the hit and run on, Gregory Polanco would hit a line drive to right. Marte unfortunately would try and stretch it out and get thrown out at third. Had he not, Freese would have scored three.
The lead would change twice with the Pirates leading into the 8th inning. Felipe Rivero entered the game and immediately got Robert Andino to fly out. Unfortunately, the next batter, Miguel Rojas, would take Rivero deep with a solo shot to cut the lead to 5-4. Dee Gordon would then reach on base due to two errors by Jung Ho Kang, which then led to the Pirates intentionally walk Prado. With two men on and just one out, Christian Yelich singled in Gordon to tie the game.
Neftali Feliz entered the game in the top of the 9th and walked the lead off hitter, J.T. Realmuto, which is also a great recipe of success. With Ichiro Suzuki moving Realmuto over on a sac bunt, Robert Andino drove in Realmuto on a liner to Polanco that gave the Marlins the 6-5 lead.
Pittsburgh did make it interesting though in the bottom of the 9th as they were down by just one. Jordy Mercer lead off the inning with a walk and John Jaso then singled to get two men on with no outs. Josh Harrison would ground out in a double play, but did allow Mercer to move up to third with two outs. Miami then decided to intentionally walk Starling Marte to get to Cutch. Unfortunately, Andrew McCutchen ended the game on a ground out to third.
Miami looked to overmatch Pittsburgh in this game. Though the score was close, Pittsburgh defense really limited the damage specifically while Gerrit Cole was pitching. Both Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco made amazing throws to gun out men at the plate.
Miami ended with 16 hits and 6 walks while J.T. Realmuto has now gone 9 for 11 with one home run in his lifetime against Cole. Along with Realmuto, Miguel Rojas and Christian Yelich each collected three hits in the game. As for Pittsburgh, Starling Marte had three hits while Gregory Polanco and Jung Ho Kang had two hits in the contest.