The Pirates allowed a key Wild Card competitor to complete a sweep against them Sunday as they fell 3-2 to the Marlins.
Miami grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on a homer by Christian Yelich on a high fly ball to deep center. Ryan Vogelsong pitched a few strong innings after that, though, and the Bucs went up 2-1 in the fourth. After Andrew McCutchen singled, Gregory Polanco doubled, and McCutchen then came home on a Martin Prado error. Josh Bell, making his first career start, brought the second run in on a sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, the Pirates ran into trouble. Adeiny Hechavarria led off and reached on a throwing error charged to Sean Rodriguez, but while Rodriguez's throw was a bit off, a more experienced first baseman probably could have scooped it. It was the Bucs' second error on the game, and both were on tricky throws that Bell struggled to receive. Bell's defense was, of course, the Pirates' main stated reason for not bringing him up earlier, and his rawness at first was on clear display today.
Anyway, after a Dee Gordon bunt single and Gordon's usual baserunning antics, the Pirates allowed two runs on Prado's RBI groundout and Vogelsong's wild pitch, and they headed into the late innings down 3-2. The wild pitch was, again, a case where two people made a mistake that was charged to only one of them. Vogelsong's breaking ball was in the dirt, but Eric Fryer failed to block it.
Bell did go 1-for-2 in his first start. He did get thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double, but it was a close play, and the Pirates were down a single run and had two outs in the sixth. The risk he was taking was one I'm willing to live with. Also, McCutchen had a nice game, with two hits and a nice grab in center. And Felipe Rivero, who's been so good since arriving in the Mark Melancon deal, did a nice job bailing Juan Nicasio out of a bases-loaded situation in the ninth.
Still, the Bucs didn't get the job done, today in particular or this weekend in general. The loss drops them to 62-59, and they'll fall to three back of the Cardinals and 1.5 back of the Marlins once the Cardinals complete what looks to be a blowout win against the Phillies this afternoon.