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Pirates can't get to Marlins' bullpen, lose 5-2

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates ran into some trouble in the middle innings and they never really did get to the Marlins' pitching, losing, 5-2, in a bit of an annoying game.

The Bucs staked Charlie Morton to a 1-0 lead early on. With two outs in the first inning, Andrew McCutchen doubled, then Aramis Ramirez laced a solid single to right to drive in the run. They couldn't add onto that lead, though, mounting little threat until they loaded the bases in the ninth inning. Notably, Ramirez grounded into two double plays when the Pirates did get guys on base.

Brad Hand wasn't baffling guys like in one of those head-scratchingly bad Pirates offensive performances, but he did shut the Bucs down. He went eight-plus innings, saving a vulnerable Marlins bullpen, finishing with five strikeouts, no walks and two runs on nine hits.

Hand lasted two batters into the ninth, giving up singles to Ramirez and Francisco Cervelli. A.J. Ramos relieved Hand and Neil Walker, pinch-hitting, helped him out, whiffing on a low 3-2 pitch. A Josh Harrison single loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez, who represented the tying run. He rolled over on a grounder to score Ramirez from third, but that was all. Sean Rodriguez flew out to end it.

Morton looked fine early on. He got out of potential trouble in the third when Starling Marte made an excellent play, nonchalantly throwing out Adeiny Hechavarria attempting to stretch a double into a triple.

In the fourth, a two-out double by Justin Bour scored Dee Gordon, who had singled and stolen second to start the inning. He stole four bases on the night, and the Marlins had five steals as a team.

Miami pulled ahead, 2-1, in the fifth when J.T. Realmuto singled and McCutchen missed the ball while readying himself to throw, allowing Christian Yelich to score from first. Gregory Polanco made an excellent throw to nab Realmuto, who tried to tag up and take third on Hechavarria's fly out.

Things unraveled in the sixth and the Marlins extended their lead to 5-1. It started with a Gordon single and stolen base (of course). After an Ichiro Suzuki bunt, Martin Prado and Bour smacked back-to-back RBI doubles. Jared Hughes replaced Morton, and he got Marcell Ozuna to ground out, but Yelich doubled home Bour.

Morton had three strikeouts and no walks but gave up eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.

It was a rough night for the Pirates' feet. McCutchen was hit on the left foot by a Hand pitch in the fifth. Cervelli took a Hughes wild pitch to the right foot in the sixth, then it looked like his left foot or ankle was in pain in the ninth when he had rounded second aggressively and had to quickly get back to the bag, perhaps forgetting Ramirez was running in front of him.