After Pirates rally, Hechavarria lifts Marlins in 8th
By Adam Berry and Glenn Sattell
MIAMI -- Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria had a chance to strike first Wednesday night, coming to the plate in the second inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. He couldn't deliver in that situation, grounding into a forceout at home, but he came through when it counted.
Hechavarria ripped a two-out double to left-center field off Pirates setup man Tony Watson, driving in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the Marlins beat the Bucs, 3-2, at Marlins Park.
Miami starter Adam Conley followed Hechavarria in the second inning by striking out -- part of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in which the Marlins didn't score -- but the left-hander didn't falter on the mound. Conley held the Pirates hitless until the sixth inning, when Andrew McCutchen lined a two-out single to center field. The lefty struck out nine batters, tying the career-high mark he set on April 13 against the Mets, and allowed two hits over six scoreless innings.
"I thought my rhythm and timing was a lot better," Conley said. "The life on the fastball was a lot better.
Pirates lefty Jon Niese worked his way out of trouble in the second inning, but he surrendered a pair of runs in a long fifth before exiting the game. The runs scored on a fielder's choice -- in which J.T. Realmuto beat John Jaso's throw home -- and a Niese wild pitch.
"That's a good-hitting ballclub. I felt like I had control down in the zone, for the most part, and got some outs when I needed to," Niese said. "That fifth inning kind of snowballed. Lot of things didn't really go our way."
Watson hadn't allowed a run since April 27 or a hit since May 6. He retired Miami's first two batters in the eighth before hitting Derek Dietrich directly in the left wrist with a two-strike sinker. Up came Hechavarria, who lined the ninth pitch of the at-bat to deep left-center field, allowing pinch-runner Miguel Rojas to score from first base.
"I just wanted Dietrich to get on base," Hechavarria said. "Unfortunately it was a hit-by-pitch. I just wanted to come up and help the team."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Left-on-left crime: After right-handed reliever Kyle Barraclough loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, the Pirates sent pinch-hitter Matt Joyce to the plate. The Marlins countered by summoning Mike Dunn, their only lefty reliever, to face the lefty-swinging Joyce. Joyce worked a full count before pulling a fastball to right field, driving in Francisco Cervelli and Josh Harrison to tie the game. Joyce leads the Majors with 10 RBIs as a pinch-hitter.
What a relief:David Phelps coaxed a double-play grounder to end the Pirates' seventh-inning rally. Miami led 2-0 before Pittsburgh chased two Miami relievers and tied the game. But with runners at first and second and only one out, Phelps got Pirates leadoff hitter Jordy Mercer to hit into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play. Phelps then struck out the side in the eighth inning.
"Phelps has been really good all year and has been kind of electric in that role," manager Don Mattingly said.
Deja vu: Like Gerrit Cole a night earlier, Niese wiggled out of an early jam that could have blown the game open. Miami loaded the bases with no outs in the second but didn't score. Third baseman David Freese and Cervelli teamed up to cut down one run at the plate on Hechavarria's fielder's-choice grounder, then Niese struck out the next two batters to escape unscathed.
"Freese made a great play over there at third, coming home with it," Niese said. "I was able to grind through those next two at-bats, fortunate enough to strike them out."
Painful HBP: Dietrich left the game in obvious pain after being hit in the wrist. A trainer took him directly to the clubhouse for X-rays, which a source said was negative.
"It didn't sound good, from him," Mattingly said of the Dietrich injury. "He felt like something happened right away. Usually guys kind of hang in there and say, 'Ah, wait, wait [to check out the injury].' He knew something right away, which is not great." More >
"By my standards, no. Anytime I go five [innings or fewer], it's not good. I want to go six or more. Realistically, I want to go seven or more. If I don't get that, then I don't feel like it's a quality outing." -- Niese, on whether this five-inning, two-run outing fell in line with his recent run of success. He has held opponents to two runs or fewer in four straight starts.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Marlins closer A.J. Ramos has converted 26 straight save chances since Sept. 8, 2015. That is the third-longest overall streak in Marlins history behind Steve Cishek (33 in 2013-14) and Todd Jones (27 in 2005).
WHAT'S NEXT Pirates: Right-hander Juan Nicasio will take the mound Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET to wrap up the Pirates' four-game series at Marlins Park. Nicasio is coming off a rough May in which he went 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA and only completed six innings in one of his four starts.
Marlins:Wei-Yin Chen gets the start on Thursday as the Marlins wrap up a four-game series with the Pirates. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET. Chen is looking for his first win since May 11. He's taken a no-decision in his last two starts, including a five-inning, one-run outing in Atlanta.