With Shark Week in full swing it was only fitting that the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen, affectionately nicknamed the “Shark Tank”, would lead the Pirates to a come from behind victory in extra innings on Thursday afternoon. 4 relievers combined to throw 5 innings of scoreless, 3 hit ball, culminating with Jared Hughes getting the victory for the Bucs.
Miami started off strong in the first inning when Christian Yelich took a 4 pitch walk, Giancarlo Stanton doubled, and Placido Polanco singled up the middle to give the Marlins an early 2 run lead. Pirates Pitcher Gerrit Cole settled down after the first inning and was cruising until the 5th when he gave up an infield single to Jeff Mathis and an opposite field home run to Yelich, his first of his Major League career.
The momentum began to shift in the bottom of the 5th as Jose Fernandez gave up a string of hits and 2 Pirates crossed the plate. The damage could have been worse if Stanton had not made a spectacular throw from right field to throw out Neil Walker trying to score. The Marlins then lifted starting pitcher Jose Fernandez after 5 innings with an elevated pitch count. Fernandez had some control problems on the day but showed a lot of heart continually pitching out of jams and only allowing 2 runs.
Chad Qualls came in to pitch the 7th inning for the Fish and for the second straight outing struggled getting outs. He surrendered a leadoff walk and 2 more singles before being lifted with the bases loaded and nobody out. Mike Dunn relieved Qualls and the Pirates scored 2 more runs on sacrifice flies before the Marlins could escape the jam.
It looked like the Marlins had an answer in the top half of the 8th but they failed to score after loading the bases. Stephen Ames pitched a scoreless 9th inning but the Pirates late inning heroics this season continued as Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the 10th with a single and eventually scored the game winning run on a pinch hit walk off single.
Christian Yelich was the bright spot for Miami as he went 3 for 4 with a home run, walk, 2 RBI’s and 2 Runs scored. He will look to continue his hot streak as the Marlins attempt to end their 5 game losing streak Friday as they visit the red-hot Atlanta Braves. Check back here for the series preview tomorrow