Marlins help Hand, who holds Pirates in check

Marlins help Hand, who holds Pirates in check

MIAMI -- Lefty Brad Hand threw a career-high eight-plus innings, silencing the Pirates' lineup and leading the Marlins to a 5-2 win over the National League Wild Card leaders Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

Hand scattered nine hits but held Pittsburgh to two runs, striking out five without walking a batter. He left the game in the ninth after serving up two singles to start the inning, which set up the Pirates to load the bases and make it a three-run game. But Marlins closer A.J. Ramos got Sean Rodriguez to fly out to center field, stranding a pair of runners to record his 22nd save.

Ramos notches the save

"He's still a young pitcher," Miami manager Dan Jennings said of Hand, 25. "He's filled multiple roles. He's come out of the bullpen as a lefty-lefty guy, situational. He's come out of the bullpen long. Now he's getting the opportunity to start. He's made the most of it of late."

The Marlins have not had a complete game all season, and Hand was given an opportunity to snap that drought. But the streak now extends to 190 games, dating back to Henderson Alvarez going the distance against the Rays on June 3, 2014.

The loss, combined with wins by the Cardinals and Cubs, pushed the Pirates 4 1/2 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central standings and cut their NL Wild Card lead over Chicago to just two games.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. He faced the minimum nine hitters over his first three innings, but his sinker and recently unhittable curveball started to land up in the zone, and the Marlins capitalized with a trio of RBI doubles in the sixth inning.

Bour's RBI double

"I think the movement was good early," Morton said. "I don't think the movement was necessarily bad, but the location was bad. The ball was just up."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Triple double in sixth: The Marlins entered the night last in the Majors in doubles with 168. You wouldn't have known it in the sixth inning, when Miami collected three RBI doubles. Martin Prado got the string going with his liner over third base that was just fair, scoring Dee Gordon. Justin Bour delivered his second RBI double of the night, which ended Morton's night. Christian Yelich laced a run-scoring double off Jared Hughes.

Prado's RBI double

"That's the kind of ball we have to play right there," Jennings said. "We have to play the small ball. We have to do the things to look to steal bases and take 90 feet at a time. And tonight they did that."

Cutch's big bobble: Andrew McCutchen hadn't committed an error all year until Friday. His second error of the season came at an inopportune time Tuesday night, as he bobbled J.T. Realmuto's fifth-inning single and allowed Yelich to score from first base as the ball bounced deeper into center field. McCutchen's misplay gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead.

Yelich scores on an error

Return of Yelich: The Marlins received a boost to the lineup with the return of Yelich, who had been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a bruised right knee. The 23-year-old left fielder made an impact with a single and run scored in the fifth inning, and in the sixth, he had a two-out RBI double. More >

Yelich's RBI double

Making it interesting: It didn't work out, but the Pirates had an ideal shot to tie the game with one out in the ninth inning. They loaded the bases with three singles, allowing Pirates manager Clint Hurdle to call on Pedro Alvarez as a pinch-hitter against Ramos. But the rally fizzled, as Alvarez managed only an RBI groundout and Rodriguez flied out.

Alvarez plates Ramirez

QUOTABLE
"It's almost like you need to try to strike him out." -- Morton, on the speed of Gordon, who stole four bases More >

Gordon swipes four bags

"You always want to throw a complete game. I really wanted to finish it off. But we got a win, that's all that matters." -- Hand

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The five doubles by the Marlins matches a season high, previously done twice before -- May 1 vs. the Phillies and July 22 against the D-backs.

Andrew McCutchen put together his 38th multi-hit game of the season. He has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games against the Marlins, batting .418 during that stretch.

WHAT'S NEXT
Pirates: Left-hander Jeff Locke (6-8, 4.56 ERA) will try to rebound from a shaky start against the Giants when he starts on Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. ET. Locke allowed six runs in five innings as the Pirates lost Friday night. He has put together solid career numbers (2-2, 3.08) in six career starts against the Marlins.

Marlins: Chris Narveson (1-0, 3.86) makes his first start since 2012 on Wednesday night. The lefty is the 13th different starter Miami has used this season, which matches a season high, set last year.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.