A pair of Jung-Ho Kang errors on one eighth-inning play figured big, and Neftali Feliz couldn't bridge the gap in the ninth as the Pirates blew a lead and lost to the Marlins, 6-5, in a goofy game that featured 28 hits on Friday night.
A David Freese two-run homer in the fourth and a big Dustin McGowan error in the seventh allowed the Pirates to pull ahead of the Marlins, 5-3. Miguel Rojas hit a solo homer off Felipe Rivero in the top of the eighth, but Rivero rebounded to strike out Adeiny Hechavarria for the second out of the inning. Kang stopped Dee Gordon's hot shot to third, but couldn't handle it cleanly, and Freese couldn't corral his wild throw at first, putting the speedy Gordon on second. Old Martin Prado, who is doing quite well this year, was intentionally walked, and young, left-handed Christian Yelich plopped a single to center off Rivero, allowing Gordon to score the tying run. Rivero avoided further damage in a sticky spot when Marcell Ozuna lined out to right.
Kang singled to left in the bottom of the eighth, but Robert Andino easily threw him out trying to stretch it into a double.
Feliz came on for the ninth and promptly walked J.T. Realmuto. Ichiro Suzuki bunted Realmuto to second and Andino singled to right. Starling Marte had thrown Realmuto out at the plate in the sixth, but Polanco didn't quite have enough time on this one, and Realmuto scored the go-ahead run. Feliz loaded the bases, but it stayed 6-5 Marlins when Gordon lined out to Kang and Prado flied to Polanco.
Jordy Mercer led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk off Fernando Rodney. John Jaso singled, and Josh Harrison's groundout moved up the runners after a couple failed sacrifice bunt attempts. In a strange-but-makes-sense-in-2016 event, Marte was intentionally walked to load the bases for Andrew McCutchen. Those that stuck around through a long few innings rose to their feet, and there were plenty of cellphones recording as Cutch hit a grounder to Prado, who stepped on third and threw to first for a frustrating, game-ending double play.
Gerrit Cole gave up 12 hits in 6 2-3 innings, but he benefited from two double plays and two runners thrown out at the plate -- Marte nabbed Realmuto in the fourth and Polanco got real, live major-league baseball player Xavier Scruggs in the sixth. Cole struck out five and walked three.
Cole had a heck of a time in the third, but ended up allowing only one run. He balked Rojas to second, then Tom Koehler popped up a bunt that Cole had a beat on but dropped as he scraped into Francisco Cervelli. Koehler, however, was called out; he had interfered with Cervelli. Gordon bunted and Cole made a nice play to get him, but Prado singled in Rojas. Realmuto and Yelich hit solo homers off Cole in the sixth and seventh, respectively.
Marte got himself thrown out trying to take third on a single in the fourth, which was cool. That was just before Freese's homer, which gave the Bucs a 2-1 lead that stood for a couple innings.
With two on in the seventh, Mercer bunted one a little hard back to the reliever McGowan, who went towards third but threw it away, allowing Kang to score to tie it at 3. A Harrison sacrifice fly and a Marte double gave the Pirates the lead, 5-3, for, like, a few minutes.
The Cardinals came from behind to beat the Phillies, which was also cool, and the Pirates fell to 2 games behind St. Louis. Miami pulled a half-game behind the Pirates in the wild-card race.