Turner, Zimmerman HR, Nats beat Pirates 3-1 for 4-game sweep

Turner, Zimmerman HR, Nats beat Pirates 3-1 for 4-game sweep
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman homered in the sixth inning and the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.
Jeremy Hellickson and four relievers combined on a five-hitter for Washington, which has won a season-high five in a row. The Nationals won with just four hits.
Sammy Solis (1-1) retired the only batter he faced, ending the sixth to keep the game scoreless. Sean Doolittle recorded the last five outs for his sixth save in as many attempts.
Trevor Williams (4-2) allowed only two runners over the first five innings. Wilmer Difo led off with a single, and after Bryce Harper flied out, Turner hit his second home run of the season.
Two batters later, Zimmerman connected for his fifth homer.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases in the eighth against Ryan Madson on a hit batter, a single and an error. Doolittle entered and got Gregory Polanco on an RBI grounder and retired Starling Marte on a flyball.
Hellickson pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings, retiring 13 in a row before yielding a two-out single in the sixth to Adam Frazier. That ended the right-hander’s day, as manager Martinez was unwilling to permit Hellickson to venture too deep into Pittsburgh’s lineup for a third time.
Hellickson struck out four and allowed three hits. He has not earned a victory since Aug. 25 when he was with Baltimore, a span of nine starts.
Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon (bruised toe) will serve as the designated hitter Thursday night as he starts a rehabilitation assignment at Class A Potomac.
Pirates: RHP Nick Kingham (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who took a perfect game into the seventh inning of his major league debut Sunday against St. Louis, gets another turn in the rotation Friday as Pittsburgh begins a three-game series in Milwaukee.
Nationals: Washington’s homestand continues as Philadelphia arrives for a three-game series. LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 2.67) starts Friday and is 10-7 with a 2.69 ERA in 23 career starts against the Phillies.

Bucs fall to the Nationals 3-2!! Costly errors ends Bucs winning streak!!!

Roark goes 7 innings, gets rare RBI as Nats beat Pirates 3-2
By BEN NUCKOLS, AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tanner Roark pitched seven efficient innings and drove in his first run since 2016, and the Washington Nationals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Monday night.
Roark (2-2) allowed two runs on six hits, struck out four and induced two double-play grounders for his first win since April 2 as the Nationals ended a disappointing April with their second straight victory.
Starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (2-3) drove in the first run for the Pirates with a two-out double to deep left-center in the fifth. He worked six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, as NL Central-leading Pittsburgh lost for the first time since his previous start. The Pirates had won five straight.
Bryce Harper drew two intentional walks and struck out twice in four plate appearances. The former MVP now has 38 walks and eight intentional passes this season, both tops in the majors, as the injury-depleted Nationals have struggled to protect him in the lineup.
Harper’s first intentional walk came in the third after he had worked the count to 2-1 with Trea Turner on second base. Taillon then struck out Howie Kendrick — who went 0-for-4 while batting cleanup for the third time this season — and Matt Adams to end the threat.
Batting in the fourth with runners on first and second, Roark bunted the first pitch foul. Then he pulled the bat back as Taillon threw a wild pitch, allowing the runners to advance. Roark hit the next pitch up the middle to score Matt Wieters and put the Nationals ahead 2-1, his second hit this season and his fifth career RBI. Turner followed with a run-scoring single, one of his three hits on the night.
Corey Dickerson homered to deep left leading off the seventh to pull the Pirates within one. Roark then retired the next three batters, fanning the final two.
Ryan Madson retired the side in the eighth and Brandon Kintzler worked the ninth for his first save in place of regular closer Sean Doolittle, who had pitched in the previous three games.
Wilmer Difo had two hits and drove in Washington’s first run with a second-inning single.
Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy (offseason knee surgery) was back with the team after spending two weeks at extended spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida, and was scheduled to be re-evaluated by team doctors. He has been hitting, running and taking ground balls, Martinez said. There is still no timetable for his return. … 3B Anthony Rendon (left toe contusion) became eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on Sunday, and no decision has been made on whether he will have a minor league rehab assignment.
Pirates: CF Starling Marte was out of the starting lineup for the first time this season but popped out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. … LHP Enny Romero said he had been trying to pitch through pain in his throwing shoulder before he told team trainers about the injury on Sunday. Pittsburgh had planned to designate him for assignment but instead placed him on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Thursday. “It’s a new organization. He didn’t want to come in and say he wasn’t ready to pitch or that he couldn’t pitch,” Hurdle said. “After we had that conversation, I guess there’s a process you go through where you contact MLB and get the verification that everything’s OK, and it’s OK now that he’s on DL.”
The Nationals shook up their bullpen again, recalling right-hander Wander Suero from Triple-A Syracuse and sending right-hander Austin Voth back to Syracuse one day after he was promoted to the big leagues. Voth has been a starter for nearly his entire minor league career, while Suero is a reliever with 30 career minor league saves.
Suero had a chance to make the team out of spring training before he suffered an oblique injury on March 9. He was 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in four appearances for Syracuse but did not allow a run in his last three outings.
“I like his ability to get both lefty hitters and righty hitters out. He’s got a really good cutter and he throws strikes,” Martinez said.
Last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer (5-1, 1.62 ERA), who threw his first of two career no-hitters against the Pirates on June 20, 2015, starts for Washington. Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl (3-1, 4.55) allowed six runs on 10 hits in four innings in his previous start against the Nationals last May.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Cervelli homers helps Bucs to 6-2 win and first place in the central!!!

Cervelli helps Pirates rally for 6-2 win over Cardinals
By ALAN SAUNDERS, Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Francisco Cervelli homered in the second inning and delivered a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the sixth, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 on Saturday night.
The Pirates scored twice in the sixth, twice in the seventh and once in the eighth while erasing a 2-1 deficit. They also rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Cardinals on Friday night.
St. Louis right-hander Jack Flaherty (0-1) started the sixth inning with back-to-back walks before being lifted for Dominic Leone. Josh Bell hit an RBI single and Cervelli’s fly ball to center scored Starling Marte to give Pittsburgh its first lead of the game.
The Pirates added on against the Cardinals’ bullpen in the seventh. Pinch-hitter David Freese had a sacrifice fly and Corey Dickerson singled in Sean Rodriguez.
Colin Moran scored on Jose Martinez’s error on a Gregory Polanco grounder in the eighth.
Cervelli got Pittsburgh on the board with his fourth homer in the second inning. He hit five all of last year.
Pirates starter Trevor Williams (4-1) pitched six innings of two-run ball. Michael Feliz, George Kontos and Edgar Santana combined for three scoreless innings in relief.
Flaherty was charged with three runs and four hits. The rookie right-hander struck out two and walked four.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (shoulder strain) will make his first rehab start with Class A Bradenton on Tuesday. He’s expected to throw three innings. Musgrove has been on the disabled list since March 30. . 2B Josh Harrison (hand fracture) took infield practice with a modified glove. He’s still expected to be about a month away from returning.
Cardinals: Luke Weaver (2-1, 4.85 ERA) will start the series finale Sunday. Weaver has given up 10 runs over his last two starts after allowing four total in his first three outings of the season.
Pirates: RHP Nick Kingham is expected to be recalled from the minors for his major league debut. Kingham was 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts with Triple-A Indianapolis.

Dickerson’s disputed homer lifts Pirates over Tigers 1-0

Dickerson’s disputed homer lifts Pirates over Tigers 1-0
By ALAN SAUNDERS, Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Corey Dickerson hit the first game-ending home run of his major league career, a disputed one-out drive in the ninth inning that lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Detroit Tigers 1-0 Thursday.
Dickerson sent an 0-1 slider from Alex Wilson (0-1) just over the 21-foot-high wall in right field, at first standing at the plate and watching the drive before starting to jog up the first-base line. A fan in a black Pirates sweatshirt reached out and caught the ball, and Wilson immediately pointed to ask for a video the initial home-run call.
Dickerson rounded third base, rolled his helmet toward the plate and was mobbed by teammates, with Adam Frazier dumping a jug of Gatorade over him. Nearly two minutes later, the home-run call was upheld, and the Pirates exchanged more hugs. It was just the second home run of the season for Dickerson.
Felipe Vazquez (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the ninth created by two singles and a walk. James McCann grounded to third baseman Colin Moran, who threw home to force Francisco Cervelli, Victor Martinez popped out and Jose Iglesias bounced into a forceout.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova allowed six hits in eight innings and struck out five. Detroit’s Michael Fulmer struck out nine in six innings while giving up four hits.
Detroit’s Leonys Martin was 2 for 4 with a triple and also reached on an error and went 5 for 14 (.357) in the series with two home runs and three RBIs
Detroit re-called RHP Johnny Barbato from Triple-A Toledo, where he had a 1.17 ERA in six games with nine strikeouts and three walks in 7 2/3 innings.
Pittsburgh traded minor league OF Todd Cunningham to the Chicago White Sox for future considerations. Cunningham hit .130 in nine games with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Pirates: RHP Bo Schultz (Tommy John surgery) pitched on back-to-back days Tuesday and Wednesday with Class A Bradenton and is ready to move up in his rehab. He pitched 10 2/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts.
Tigers: RHP Mike Fiers (2-1, 3.71 ERA) is to start a three-game series at Baltimore on Friday. He beat Kansas City on Sunday despite allowing 10 hits and striking out none.
Pirates: LHP Steven Brault (2-1, 4.44 ERA) opens a three-game against visiting St. Louis on Friday.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Altherr’s RBI hit gives Phils 3-2 win and sweep over Pirates

  1. Altherr’s RBI hit gives Phils 3-2 win and sweep over Pirates
    By ROB MAADDI, AP Sports Writer
    PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Aaron Altherr had quite a game for a guy who sat on the bench the first six innings.
    Altherr’s RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning lifted the Phillies to a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday, giving Philadelphia its first four-game sweep over the Pirates in 24 years.
    Andrew Knapp hit an opposite-field triple off the left-field wall with one out off Rich Rodriguez (0-1). With the infield in, Altherr pulled a 1-2 pitch to left for his third hit. He raised his hand in the air, ran to first and got mobbed by teammates.
    “Feels great to have my first walk-off in the big leagues,” Altherr said.
    Altherr finished 3 for 3 with a triple, raising his average from .104 to .157. He’s had to adjust to not being in the lineup every game because manager Gabe Kapler is rotating 10 players for eight starting spots.
    “It’s been really difficult as the days went on,” Altherr said. “I’m trying to stay positive and keep rolling.”
    Kapler raved about Altherr’s attitude.
    “Coming into the season, we felt he was one of our best offensive players,” Kapler said. “He’s had some bad luck. I’m sure he wanted to play more regularly but every day he comes in with a smile, he comes prepared and he works his tail off. Good things happen to good people. He deserves it. His teammate behavior has been unparalleled. It’s outstanding.”
    The Phillies have won 13 of 16 since a 1-4 start and are seven games over .500 for the first time since they were 24-17 on May 18, 2016. They finished 71-91 that season and lost 96 games last year.
    Philadelphia had not swept a four-game series from the Pirates since May 12-15, 1994. Pittsburgh has lost four in a row and six of seven after an 11-4 start.
    “We had opportunities throughout the game,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We had a rough week. We need a day off and figure things out and show up ready to play Tuesday.”
    Elias Diaz hit a two-run homer for Pittsburgh.
    Pirates starter Trevor Williams allowed two runs and only one hit — an RBI double to pitcher Nick Pivetta — in six innings. He had five walks and fanned seven.
    Pivetta gave up two runs and five hits, striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings.
    After Diaz went deep to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth, Pivetta helped himself. He lined a run-scoring double down the right-field line — his first career extra-base hit.
    Pivetta scurried to third base on a wild pitch and hustled home on Cesar Hernandez’s sacrifice fly that tied it at 2.
    “I was just trying to get the two runs I gave up back,” Pivetta said.
    Phillies reliever Victor Arano had retired all 25 batters he faced this season and 32 straight, dating to last season, before Starling Marte reached safely on third baseman Scott Kingery’s throwing error to start the ninth. Arano pitched out of a jam in the 10th after pinch-hitter Josh Bell hit a triple with one out.
    Yacksel Rios (3-0) tossed a scoreless inning, stranding two runners, to earn the win.
    Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera has reached base safely in a career-best 23 straight games.
    Phillies: Reliever Tommy Hunter was activated from the disabled list. The righty had been sidelined all season with a strained right hamstring. He tossed a perfect eighth with one strikeout.
    Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (2-1, 4.57 ERA) opposes Tigers RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 7.71 ERA) Tuesday night in the start of a three-game set in Pittsburgh.
    Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (1-2, 3.80 ERA) starts Tuesday night vs. Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (2-0, 4.98) in the opener of a three-game series.
    More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Herrera’s triple in 8th lifts Phillies over Pirates 2-1!!!

Herrera’s triple in 8th lifts Phillies over Pirates 2-1
By AARON BRACY, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Odubel Herrera hit a go-ahead triple in the eighth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Santana and Maikel Franco each had two hits for the Phillies, who have won nine of 11 overall while improving to 7-1 at home. It is Philadelphia’s best start at home since it won seven of eight to begin the 1981 season.
Luis Garcia (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Hector Neris blanked Pittsburgh in the ninth to earn his third save in four tries.
After Hernandez led off the eighth with a double and Santana grounded out, Herrera lined an 86-mph cutter from George Kontos (1-2) on a 1-2 count just inside the first-base bag to score Hernandez and give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
Rhys Hoskins walked to put runners on first and third with one out before as bizarre a double play as you’ll see ended the inning. Kontos had Hoskins picked off, but first baseman Josh Bell threw home to get Herrera, who broke for the plate on the play. Hoskins then lost track of where he was and also was out on a caught stealing double play that was scored 1-3-4-2-5-8-7.
The Pirates threatened in the ninth when Jordy Mercer doubled with one out, but David Freese popped out in the infield and Adam Frazier grounded out.
After a promising 11-3 start, Pittsburgh has dropped four of five.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Francisco Cervelli was hit by a pitch, went to third on Colin Moran’s double and scored on Mercer’s sacrifice fly to right.
Philadelphia tied it in the bottom half when Santana scored on Hoskins’ fielder’s choice grounder to third. Santana reached third on Herrera’s single to right, and Herrera tied a career high on the hit by reaching base safely in 21 straight games.
Ben Lively had his best outing in his fourth start for Philadelphia, allowing a run on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks in six innings.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova had similar numbers, giving up a run on five hits in six innings. Nova struck out three and walked none, and has fanned 21 batters against one walk in his last four starts.
Pirates: RHP A.J. Schugel (right shoulder discomfort) will make his next start at Triple-A Indianapolis. Schugel threw a scoreless inning at Single-A Bradenton on Wednesday.
Phillies: Right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter pitched a scoreless inning, striking out two, at Double-A Reading on Friday night. Hunter, who has been sidelined all season with a strained right hamstring, made 20 pitches in his second rehab outing.
Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (1-1, 2.22) opposes Pirates LHP Steven Brault (2-1, 4.74) in the third game of the four-game set Saturday.

Pirates fall to Phillies 7-0!!!

Arrieta Ks 10, allows 1 hit in 7 innings in Phillies win
By DAN GELSTON, AP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jake Arrieta threw like an old-school ace wearing a retro powder blue Phillies uniform fit for a throwback outing.
Arrieta flashed the All-Star form that made Philadelphia covet him in free agency, striking out 10 and tossing one-hit ball over seven innings to lead the Phillies to a 7-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.
Rhys Hoskins homered and Cesar Hernandez had a three-run single to pace the Phillies in their first game back from a 4-2 trip.
The Phillies got vintage Arrieta (2-0) in his best outing since he left the Chicago Cubs for a $75 million, three-year contract that made him the immediate ace of the rotation.
He had his 14th career double-digit strikeout game and walked two, combining with two relievers on a two-hitter.
“It was about as good as I’ve been,” Arrieta said.
Arrieta, with two no-hitters and a World Series championship with the Cubs, struck out seven through the first four innings — he had struck out only six over 10 2/3 innings in his first two starts. He wore short sleeves on a night when temperatures dipped into the 30s, and the postseason flags whipping in the wind were about the only objects with more movement than Arrieta’s fastball .
“That’s the best movement and action I’ve seen on his fastball since 2015,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
The Pirates, who lead the Central, are one of the surprise teams in the National League. Against their longtime nemesis, forget it. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner improved to 11-6 in 21 career starts against Pittsburgh. He struck out 11 and tossed a four-hit shutout against the Pirates in the 2015 NL Wild Card game that included a bench-clearing melee.
“Nights like tonight where I do have pretty much command at will, it just makes my job that much easier,” Arrieta said.
The Phillies wore the powder blue 1970s and ’80s uniforms that were a hit with fans and fashionistas. Arrieta had changed into a sleeveless shirt and red shorts for the postgame celebration in the dugout.
The Phillies haven’t had a winning season since 2011, when they won their fifth straight NL East title. The addition of Arrieta signaled a long, arduous rebuilding process could turn into contention this season. They’ve already had a six-game winning streak — the last three on a sweep at Tampa Bay.
The 32-year-old right-hander was on from the start, striking out Adam Frazier and Gregory Polanco to open the game on a pair of 94 mph sinkers. He allowed only an infield single in the second inning.
“You’re going to get excited about having Jake go out there every fifth day if he’s sort of the mid-range version of himself, which is still very good,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “If he’s a little bit better than his average self, he’s unhittable.”
Hoskins lined his third homer of the season to left, and Hernandez made it 4-0 on a bases-loaded single to left off Jameson Taillon (2-1).
Taillon allowed five runs and was chased after 1 1/3 innings.
Yacksel Rios and Victor Arano each tossed a scoreless inning in relief. Arano has retired 32 consecutive batters dating to 2017.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove, on the disabled list with strained muscle in his right shoulder, threw a bullpen session and will throw another on Sunday.
Phillies: RHP Tommy Hunter is set for a rehab outing with Double-A Reading on Friday. Hunter has been out all season with a hamstring injury. “I think he profiles as a guy that can give us one-plus (innings),” Kapler said. “On some days, he might come in for a couple of batters. On others, he might go a little bit longer for us.”
The Pirates held their annual “Dads’ Trip” series this weekend in Philadelphia. The fathers of 20 players and staff members attended the series and took part in various baseball activities with their kids.
Kapler wasn’t much of a Phillies fan growing up, but his dog Pete was named after one of his favorite players: Pete Rose.
“Little black mutt terrier,” Kapler said. “He always bet on himself.”
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.88 ERA) tries to win his third straight start. He has a 2-1 career mark against the Phillies and struck out 11 batters in one start against them in 2006.
Phillies: RHP Ben Lively (0-1, 5.87) makes his fourth start for the Phillies.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Bucs drop 2nd straight losing 2-0 to the Rockies!!

Rockies’ Bettis, 3-relievers shut out Bucs at snowy PNC Park
By JOHN PERROTTO, Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chad Bettis pitched into the eighth inning and combined with three relievers on a five-hitter, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 on a snowy Tuesday night.
Bettis allowed five hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking two. Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee got the ball to Wade Davis, who pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading eighth save.
The Rockies improved to 5-1 on their seven-game trip to Washington and Pittsburgh and are 9-4 on the road overall.
The announced attendance was 8,869, but there appeared to be fewer than 2,000 fans at PNC Park. The Pirates offered ticket vouchers for games later in the season to fans who came through the turnstiles.
Trevor Williams (3-1) pitched six innings in short sleeves despite the 34 degree temperature at first pitch. He gave up two runs on four hits and has allowed five runs total in four starts this season.
Bettis has pitched at least five innings and given up two runs or fewer in each of his four starts this season. He has a 1.47 ERA in his past six starts, including his final two outings of 2017.
The Rockies opened the scoring in the first inning when Gerardo Parra drew a one-out walk, advanced to third on Charlie Blackmon’s single and scored on Carlos Gonzalez’s forceout grounder. Blackmon has eight RBIs in his last four games.
Rookie Ryan McMahon, who entered hitting .074, singled in a run in the fourth to make it 2-0.
The Pirates did not get a runner past first base until Jordy Mercer led off the eighth inning with a double. After Mercer moved to third on pinch-hitter Adam Frazier’s groundout, Bettis was replaced by Shaw.
Sean Rodriguez bounced to McMahon, the third baseman, who threw out Mercer at home. McGee then came on and induced Gregory Polanco to hit an inning-ending pop out.
Mercer had two hits as the Pirates lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
Corey Dickerson popped out for the final out, ending his 11-game hitting streak.
Pirates: 2B Josh Harrison (broken left pinky) rejoined the team a day after being placed on the disabled list. Harrison has broken the same finger two seasons in a row when hit by pitches. “The odds of that have to be infinity-to-1,” Harrison said. … RHP Joe Musgrove (strained right shoulder) is scheduled to throw off the mound Thursday for the first time since going on the DL. He is scheduled to throw three bullpens before beginning a rehab assignment in the minor leagues.
Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (0-2, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to face RHP Chad Kuhl (1-1, 5.74) on Wednesday. Freeland is 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA in two career starts. Kuhl has lost both career starts against Colorado with a 5.73 ERA.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Bucs’ Josh Harrison out six weeks!!!

Josh Harrison will be out approximately six weeks, the Pirates announced on Monday, after he was diagnosed with a fracture to the fifth metacarpal of his left hand.

Harrison was hit by a pitch on Sunday while leading off the third inning for the Pirates and left the game. Adam Frazier was inserted to pinch-run for Harrison. The Pirates won Sunday’s series finale, 7-3.

The Bucs’ second baseman was stung by a Jose Urena fastball clocked at 96 mph by Statcast.

“I’m pretty frustrated,” Harrison said after the game. “It definitely [stinks] being hit. Guys throw hard. I just wanted to take precautionary measures, ice it and get back to Pitt and see our doctors.

Marte’s 5 hits help Pirates beat Marlins 7-3!!!

Marte’s 5 hits help Pirates, Nova beat Marlins 7-3
By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) — Starling Marte hiked his average 64 points Sunday, punctuating a 5-for-5 afternoon with a ninth-inning homer to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Miami Marlins 7-3.
Marte’s five hits were a career high, and his average rose from .241 to .305. He scored four times and hit his third homer off Junichi Tazawa.
The surprising Pirates (11-4) improved to 7-0 in day games, completed a 4-2 trip and head home atop the NL Central.
Both teams kept their tempers in check even as two Pirates and one Marlins batter were hit by pitches. Pittsburgh second baseman Josh Harrison left in the third inning complaining of pain in his left hand after being hit by a 96 mph fastball from Jose Urena.
Ivan Nova (2-1) recovered from a wobbly start to pitch 6 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs and struck out nine, his highest total since 2016.
Nova improved to 3-0 in three career starts against the Marlins with an ERA of 1.66. Justin Bour ended his afternoon with a pinch-hit, two-run homer.
Miami started the game with three consecutive singles to load the bases, but scored only once in the first — on Brian Anderson’s groundout.
After Harrison’s injury, Nova hit JB Shuck in the hip later that same inning, and Marlins reliever Odrisamer Despaigne plunked Francisco Cervelli on the left hand in the seventh. Despaigne appeared to apologize as Cervelli trotted to first base, and the Pittsburgh catcher responded with a conciliatory wave.
Josh Bell had three hits and three RBIs for the Pirates. Corey Dickerson drove in a pair of runs, had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Urena (0-3) allowed eight hits and four runs in five innings. After four starts, the Marlins’ ace has an ERA of 5.57.
The Pirates bunched four hits to score three times against Urena in the third inning. Bell put Pittsburgh ahead with a double that deflected off the glove of a diving Derek Dietrich at first base, and Dickerson followed with an RBI single.
The Marlins (4-11) went 1-5 on their homestand.
Marlins: C J.T. Realmuto (back) is expected to come off the disabled list and make his season debut sometime during the upcoming 10-day trip. Manager Don Mattingly didn’t rule out Realmuto returning for the series against the Yankees on Monday and Tuesday. … 3B Martin Prado (hamstring) is close to beginning a rehab assignment, Mattingly said.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (right shoulder strain) might advance to a bullpen session as early as Tuesday, manager Clint Hurdle said.
Pirates: LHP Steven Brault (2-0, 3.46 ERA) is scheduled to start when the Pirates begin a three-game homestand Monday against Colorado and RHP German Marquez (0-1, 4.97).
Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (0-1, 4.73) is on the mound when the Marlins begin a three-city trip Monday at Yankee Stadium. New Miami CEO and former Yankees captain Derek Jeter has said he will not attend the games in New York.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball