The Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the Miami Marlins 6-5 to earn a victory in game one of a three-game series. Here are the takeaways and throwaways from the contest.
- Tickets to the gun show- It’s a well known fact the Pirates boast an outfield with strong arms. Tonight, the Pirates saved at least two runs from scoring with outfield assists from Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco. The Marte (15)-Polanco (8) duo have combined for 23 assists this season which is the most from a pair of teammates in the National League.
- Mr. Freese- David Freese continues to be one of the best bargain pick-ups the Pirates have made in recent history. Freese’s two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning was his 12th of the season. The RBIs were Freese’s 47th and 48th of the season.
- Small-ball execution- Josh Harrison getting thrown out a steal attempt was the only blemish as the Pirates used small-ball to their advantage Friday night. After hitting a single, Jung Ho Kang stole his third base of the season with Francisco Cervelli at the plate. Following a Cervelli walk, Jordy Mercer laid down a bunt fielded by pitcher Dustin McGowan. McGowan threw to third and ball went into left field to score Kang and put Cervelli at third with no one out in the seventh. Cervelli would later score on a Harrison sac-fly.
- Unable to avoid the long ball- The Marlins boast the career home run record holder as their hitting coach with Barry Bonds being on Don Mattingly’s coaching staff. Cole and the gang were unable to avoid the long ball Friday night succumbing to homers from J.T. Realmuto in the sixth inning and Christian Yelich in the seventh. The Yelich homer ultimately led to Cole getting pulled in the seventh with two outs.
- Avoiding the bizarre inning- The top of the third served as this game’s edition of the bizarre inning. The inning included a balk, catcher’s interference, a walk, and only two hits as well as a run scoring. Miguel Rojas reached on a single before advancing to second on a balk by Cole. Cole induced a bunt pop-up, however, he and Francisco Cervelli collided and the ball hit the ground. Tom Koehler, who bunted the pitch, was called out for interfering with Cervelli for the first out of the inning. Dee Gordon bunted Rojas to third and Rojas would eventually score on a Marin Prado single. It was the second bizarre inning in which a run scored in three games dating back to game two of the series with the Giants.
- Jung Ho’s defensive woes- Third baseman Jung Ho Kang earned his eight and ninth errors in the month of August with a fielding and throwing error on the same play in the eighth inning. Kang now has 12 errors on the season compared to nine at third base last season. Kang’s two errors with two outs proved costly as it cost the Pirates a run and allowed the inning to continue.
W – Nick Wittgren (4-2)
L – Neftali Feliz (4-1)
S – Fernando Rodney (22)
Line of the Night
Tonight we will focus on 1B/3B David Freese.
While David Freese is in is first season with the Pirates, what he brought to the team was his love of fish, in this case, Marlins. Freese has feasted on Marlin pitching in his career which was made apparent by the fourth inning blast he put in the right-center field seats. Freese wound up () for () with (RBI) and scored (RUNS)
Including tonight’s game, Freese has gone 27 for 75 against the Marlins in his career, a .360 average.
The Pirates will send Chad Kuhl to the mound in Saturday’s night game against the Marlins. The Marlins will be sending right-handed David Phelps to the bump. Phelps boasts a 2.48 ERA with a 6-6 record thus far in 2016. Kuhl enters Saturday’s game with a 3-0 record and 3,73 ERA. Saturday night will also be a Zambelli Fireworks night at the ballpark.