Pirates lose to Marlins and Brad Hand, 5-2
Aug. 26, 2015
MIAMI (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates couldn't reach the seats Tuesday night at spacious Marlins Park. They also had trouble making it home.
Too many well-hit balls by the Pirates became outs, and they lost to Brad Hand and the Miami Marlins 5-2.
Hand (4-3) pitched into the ninth inning. He entered the game 7-20 as a starter, worst among all active pitchers, according to STATS, but has won three of his past four starts.
"The first two times through the lineup, I thought we swung the bat well against him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We hit some balls hard. We didn't have any results."
Hand allowed nine hits but only two runs. He retired nine batters on outfield flyouts.
"We hit some balls hard against him," Andrew McCutchen said, "but he took advantage of this park."
A.J. Ramos came on with two on and no outs in the ninth and earned his 22nd save in 27 chances.
Major-league batting leader Dee Gordon beat out two infield hits, and the Pirates couldn't throw him out at the other bases, either. Gordon tied a career high with four stolen bases and scored twice.
"He's a threat," Pirates starter Charlie Morton (8-5) said. "When he puts the ball in play, the chances are he's going to get on base. It's almost as if you need to strike him out."
The speedy Gordon provided a spark for an offense that has sputtered without injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who is expected to be sidelined another 10 days.
"You've got to do what you can and scratch by," Gordon said. "We've got our best player down right now, so we've got to be 90 feet at a time."
Gordon scored the Marlins' first run and reached on a bunt single to begin their three-run sixth against Morton. Gordon turned two double plays at second base, including a nifty one started by third baseman Martin Prado.
Gordon hiked his average to .333, and he leads the majors with 156 hits.
"He was the catalyst," manager Dan Jennings said. "He's our sparkplug."
The Marlins had five doubles, including two run-scoring doubles by Justin Bour. Christian Yelich, who was activated from the disabled list before the game, doubled home a run and singled. Adeiny Hechavarria added a double and a triple.
Two Pirates were hit by pitches Monday, and Hand plunked McCutchen in the left foot on Tuesday. But the left-hander didn't issue a walk.
"That's a good ballclub," Jennings said. "When you're able to pitch that way against that team, it says a lot about Brad and his growth."
Miami beat Pittsburgh for the first time in five meetings this year, and snapped the Pirates' five-game road winning streak.
The Pirates scored in the first on a two-out RBI single by Aramis Ramirez, and Hand retired the side in order only twice.
Hechavarria tried to catch the Pirates by surprise and stretch a double into a triple in the third inning, and Starling Marte casually lobbed a throw to third to get him. It was Marte's 11th assist in left field, most in the majors.
Pirates 1B Michael Morse, traded by the Marlins last month, started Tuesday and went 1 for 3. The Marlins signed Morse to a two-year, $16 million contract last offseason but batted only .213 for them.
"Sometimes things don't work for the reasons they don't work," Hurdle said. "We like his bat."
Pirates: RHP A.J. Burnett (right elbow) pitched two innings of a simulated game and is scheduled to pitch three innings in a simulated game Sunday.
Pirates LHP Jeff Locke (6-8, 4.56) will start Wednesday against LHP Chris Narveson (1-0, 3.86), making his first major league start since 2012.