The Pirates lost Andrew McCutchen, Francisco Cervelli, David Freese and Jordy Mercer -- at least temporarily -- and almost got no-hit against the Marlins Thursday. They battled back to tie the game, but their short-handed roster eventually fell in the 12th inning, 4-3.
Cervelli was first to leave the game, departing in the third after being hit in the foot with a pitch the previous inning. Then McCutchen left in the sixth with what the Pirates described as right thumb discomfort. Finally, Freese left with an injured hand in the eighth after also being struck by a pitch. There was no indication that any of these injuries were terrible, but you hate to see so many of them. We'll provide updates as we have them.
As for the game itself, maybe "almost got no-hit" is stretching it. For six innings, the Bucs were victims of what one reader aptly described as "the stealthiest no-hitter ever." Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen is a perfectly good pitcher with a solid track record, but he has underwhelming velocity and isn't at all dominant. And the whole affair was in Marlins Park, where excitement goes to die. So while Chen churned through one no-hit frame after another, it took me quite awhile to notice anything strange was going on.
Meanwhile, Bucs starter Juan Nicasio did his usual thing, getting through the evening with decent enough results but with a high pitch count and too many baserunners. In the second, he gave up a triple to Adeiny Hechavarria that led to a run. In the third, it was a single by Ichiro (who'd already made a nice catch on Nicasio's own batted ball to bail Chen out of a bases-loaded jam in the second), a single by Christian Yelich, an opposite-field double by Giancarlo Stanton, and a sacrifice fly by J.T. Realmuto.
The Bucs finally got on board against Chen in the seventh. Jung Ho Kang led off with a double to break up the no-hitter, Chris Stewart walked, and Matt Joyce doubled them both home.
The Pirates came up empty the following inning after their first two runners reached base, but finally tied the game in the ninth. Jordy Mercer reached via -- you guessed it -- a hit by pitch, then moved up on Kyle Barraclough's wild pitch and came around on a single by John Jaso, who'd entered the game to replace Freese. Mercer, naturally, later left the game due to elbow discomfort.
Jaso's hit set the depleted Pirates up to eke out a heroic win somehow, but it wasn't to be. In fact, it just continued the game for an hour, with pretty much no one in the park. A.J. Schugel continued what had been a terrific day for the Bucs' bullpen for quite awhile, but he finally broke down in the 12th, giving up a walk to Ichiro and then a gap double to Yelich.
The loss was the Pirates' third of four in Miami. They now come home to face the Angels tomorrow.