Marlins’ ninth-inning rally falls short in loss to Pirates
MIAMI — The Miami Marlins have been getting late offense against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Unfortunately for them, it hasn’t resulted in any wins.
The Marlins have scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth in each of the past two games. The result has been consecutive 8-6 losses.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said on Saturday he was happy to see his team rally and score four runs in the ninth inning on consecutive days. But he is not happy with his starting pitching.
"We are having trouble getting our starters past the fourth or fifth innings, which is tough on our bullpen," Redmond said. "They are eating up a ton of innings — too many innings. We have to get our starting pitching figured out."
The Marlins are also having trouble keeping the Pirates’ top two hitters in the batting order — right fielder Gregory Polanco and left fielder Starling Marte — off the bases. They combined to produce 13 hits the past two games.
That has fueled a Pirates lineup that has been on a roll lately including Saturday, when center fielder Andrew McCutchen and shortstop Jordy Mercer homered.
"Our top of the lineup is getting on base and doing the job right now," McCutchen said. "When you have that, you can do big things."
In the ninth, the Marlins got two-run homers by center fielder Marcell Ozuna and pinch-hitter Jeff Baker.
The Pirates brought in closer Jason Grilli, who gave up a single to second baseman Rafael Furcal.
But Marlins left fielder Reed Johnson, who represented the tying run, fouled out to end the game, giving Grilli his 11th save of the season.
The Pirates got 18 hits on Saturday. It was the sixth straight game the Pirates had at least 10 hits, and they have scored a combined total of 33 runs during that stretch.
McCutchen, who has 16 extra-base hits this month, finished with three RBIs. Mercer and Polanco each had two RBIs.
The Pirates (34-34) won their fourth straight game and got back to .500 for the first time since April 17.
Charlie Morton (4-7) got the win, lasting seven innings and allowing five hits, three walks and two runs. He is 4-1 in his past five starts.
Left-hander Randy Wolf (1-3) took the loss, allowing nine hits and five runs in four innings.
Wolf, who had Tommy John surgery last year, would not use that as an excuse.
"It was embarrassingly bad," Wolf said of his performance. "It’s frustrating to not have command of your pitches.
"Throughout this process (of coming back), my command hasn’t been horrible. But today, it was horrible. It’s not like I was throwing balls to the backstop. But I threw very few balls at the knees. I threw a lot of balls at the belt, and that’s not going to get it done."
NOTES: Pittsburgh called up veteran RHP Vance Worley from Triple-A Indianapolis so he can start on Sunday against Miami. Worley will be making his debut with the Pirates, but has a career big-league record of 19-18 with a 4.05 ERA. … Marlins LF Christian Yelich was not in Saturday’s lineup. He left Friday’s game in the first inning with a lower-back injury that he suffered while swinging a bat.