The Pittsburgh Pirates came back from a 4-2 deficit to win the final game of the series in Miami, 5-4. The victory provided Pirates with a much-needed series win over the Marlins as they were treading water after seven straight losses, ultimately falling into last place in the National League Central.
Pirates starter Chris Archer got the no decision but went five innings, giving up four earned runs alongside three walks and eight strikeouts.
Sandy Alcantara pitched well enough for the Marlins to win the game, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. He allowed three runs and struck out six through as many innings.
After three initial scoreless innings from both teams, the Pirates got on the board thanks to a two run double from Jung Ho Kang which knocked in Josh Bell and Colin Moran for a 2-0 lead.
While still early, it looked as though that would be all the support Archer would need.
Archer was rolling along on the back of his four-seam fastball and slider, with six strikeouts and allowing just two baserunners (one single, one walk).
Things came undone for him in the fourth inning.
Archer gave up a line drive double to Garrett Cooper, followed by a walk to Brian Anderson. He was then able to get Starlin Castro to fly out, but Harold Ramirez drove a 2-1 two-seam fastball over the left center field wall, giving Miami the lead.
With the Marlins up 3-2, JT Riddle kept the offense going by smoking an 88 MPH slider to right. After a striking out Miguel Rojas, Archer gave up a pair of two out base hits, the latter an RBI line drive by Alcantara that knocked in Riddle.
Down 4-2 in the fifth, the Pirates had two runners on and nobody out but couldn’t capitalize. Melky Cabrera and Bell both flew out and Moran was K’d on a changeup-sinker-fastball combo.
However, Pittsburgh was able to tack on another run in the sixth after Gregory Polanco doubled, and with two outs, Corey Dickerson was able to knock him in with a double of his own to make it a one-run game.
The following inning, the Pirates immediately took advantage of reliever Nick Anderson who came in to relieve Alcantara in the seventh. Reynolds lead off with a sharp single to center, then Melky Cabrera tied the game with a triple when Anderson served up a hung 84 MPH curveball.
With Cabrera on third and nobody out, Bell drilled an elevated 97 MPH four-seam fastball for a double and giving the Pirates a 5-4 lead. A flyout to right field from Colin Moran allowed Bell to tag up and make it to third base, but Polanco (groundout to first) and Kang (strikeout) left him stranded.
After a scoreless bottom of the sixth from Richard Rodriguez and a solid inning and two thirds out of reliever Kyle Crick, Felipe Vazquez came in to attempt a two-inning save. He gave up a bloop single to Castro that barely fell out of the reach of Bell, then got the next three batters out (two pop outs and a strikeout).
Vazquez returned for the bottom of the ninth, gave up a two-out single to pinch hitter Austin Dean, then retired Cooper on one pitch by inducing a groundout with a 99 MPH four-seam fastball for his 16th save of the season.
The Pirates will have the day off tomorrow as they travel back home to start a two-game series with the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.