Pirates Edge Marlins 4-2
The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to extend their win streak to four games on Monday evening against the Miami Marlins. Charlie Morton made his 2015 debut and went 7 solid innings, only gave up two runs, and whiffed three batters. Morton was assisted by the bats of Francisco Cervelli and Pedro Alvarez, as both players went yard.
It was extremely nerve-wracking watching Morton pitch Monday because the last time Bucco fans saw him, he pitched 1 and 2/3 innings and gave up six earned runs against the Phillies in his final spring training appearance. But he showed up and settled in after the first two innings.
Morton had his sinker and slider working against Miami, which was evident by the 18 ground ball outs he got. Whoever pieced him back together in Florida during his rehab stint, the super glue seems to be holding pretty good.
The Pirates offense has been firing on all cylinders lately. Tonight the top three in the lineup, Harrison, Polanco, and McCutchen, went 0-for-11 with one walk. Usually when that happens, it means disaster for the rest of the lineup, but that was not the case tonight. The other five guys in the lineup went 10-for-15 with two home runs, four RBI, and only three strikeouts. This is the production that is necessary for the Pirates to continue to have success.
Francisco Cervelli crushed his first home run as a Pirate in the second inning. His three run bomb was what sent the Pirates over the top. Cervelli has been batting over .350 in the month of May, which has helped the Pirates top half of the order produce runs.
Pedro Alvarez muscled his ninth home run of the season over the left-center field wall. Alvarez got just enough of it, as his line drive just barely cleared the top of the fence.
The Pirates had some blown opportunities on offense that could have really blown it open for them. Right before the Alvarez homer, Marte got thrown out at second base on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out with Neil Walker.
Josh Harrison got absolutely robbed by Giancarlo Stanton in right field. Stanton needed all of his 6-foot 6-inch frame and then some to make the amazing grab. His jaw-dropping play saved a Jordy Mercer run, and who knows what else would’ve happened if the inning continued.
All in all, this was a great team victory by the Pirates. Morton pitched extremely well, the offense showed up, and more importantly, the bottom of the lineup showed up. The Pirates now move within two games of the second wild card spot in the National League.