Miguel Rojas hit a homer with two outs in the ninth to tie the game and Garrett Cooper went deep in the tenth to hand a 5-4 victory to the Marlins in a game where the Pirates were cursed with injuries and mental mistakes.
The Pirates got a lead off homer in the first inning for the third straight game, the last two coming from Adam Frazier, his ninth of the year.
Starter Mitch Keller was throwing well, having struck out three of the four batters he’d faced, when with one out in the second Cooper lined back to the mound, the ball glancing off the wrist of Keller’s pitching hand and into the glove on his other for an out. Keller was immediately removed from the game, and the preliminary report later in the game was that his arm was bruised but not broken.
Clay Holmes finished the second without issue but in the third loaded the bases on a single and two walks. With two outs, third baseman Colin Moran threw Cooper’s ground ball past first base, allowing two runners to score and give Miami the lead.
The Marlins scored again in the fifth when Cooper drove a ball to deep center off Geoff Hartlieb for an RBI double.
After the leadoff homer, Miami starter Sandy Alcantara was cruising, retiring the next fourteen batters in a row, but with two outs in the bottom of the fifth the Pirates loaded the bases on a walk to Jacob Stallings, a ground ball past third by Erik Gonzalez that was generously scored a hit, and another walk to pinch-hitter Melky Cabrera. Frazier then dropped the first pitch down the right field line for a two run single, tying the score at 3-3, but Frazier was inexplicably caught between first and second when he went too wide around the base after his hit.
Michael Feliz, Richard Rodriguez and Francisco Liriano followed with stellar relief work, allowing a combined one hit and one walk in three innings while fanning five Marlins’ batters.
Alcantara was still around the open the eighth inning, but was lifted after walking the first two batters, Jason Martin and Cole Tucker, both pinch-hitting. After Adam Frazier bunted the runners up, putting the lead run at third base with one out, Starling Marte was intentionally walked to load the bases for Josh Bell - but the second pitch to Bell skipped away from the catcher and Martin dashed home ahead of the throw to score the lead run, but in the collision at the plate, pitcher Jarlin Garcia fell, with his whole weight landing on the upper part of Martin’s arm, forcing him to leave the game in obvious distress.
All that was left was for August’s Relief Pitcher of the Month Felipe Vazquez to nail down three outs, and the first two came easily, on a fly to left and a swinging third strike - but on a 2-1 count Rojas took a center cut 100 mph fastball deep over the fence in center field to tie the game at 4-4, becoming only the second batter to have more than one career home run off Vazquez.
Still, the game was tied and the Pirates had their last bats in the ninth to pull off a victory. Tyler Conley, who entered the game with 29 walks in 41 innings, was called on by Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly. Kinley quickly got a fly out and strike out, but then lost the zone and walked both pinch-hitter Pablo Reyes and Cole on a total of nine pitches. Kinley was gone and left-hander Adam Conley was in to face the lefty swing Frazier, who tapped the first pitch softly towards the hole at short. Rojas charged and threw to first, too late to get Frazier, loading the bases...but third base Alex Cora waved Reyes around third, and the relay from first to home beat Reyes by twenty feet, ending the inning with Bryan Reynolds ready to bat.
With Kyle Crick available, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle instead called on rookie Parker Markel, and the second batter he faced, the aforementioned Cooper, blasted a pitch deep into the seats, past the notch in left center, to give the Marlins an extra inning lead.
Jose Urena came into close it out in the bottom of the tenth, which he did in an easy one-two-three manner to earn the save.
Game two is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday, as Marlins’ right-hander Robert Duggar (0-1, 4.50) will make his third major league appearance against the Pirates’ Trevor Williams (7-6, 5.26)