MIAMI — For a brief moment, it looked like beer league softball.
Well, relatively speaking.
But early-game offense soon subsided and the Miami Marlins mini hot streak came to an end. Pittsburgh out-hit the suddenly, but briefly slugging hosts 7-4 in Marlins Park. The two combined for the most runs in a Miami game since July 12's 8-3 win against the Nationals.
The Marlins had won four of five entering an eventful Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 22,410.
Instead it was the Pirates who built enough of a lead on starter Tom Koehler (2-6, 3.67) to survive the Marlins' 11 hits. Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton had three hits, but run production slipped after the three-run third.
Miami had it down to 5-4 before the visitors added runs in the sixth and eighth for cushion. Managing just two hits in the final four innings squandered the fleeting momentum.
A few tough-luck doubles put the Marlins in an early hole. Starling Marte's lead-off broken-bat double was followed by a more traditional two-bagger from Neil Walker. Then a bloop shot between shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and right fielder Stanton scored Walker.
"You kinda make your own luck when you fall behind a couple of guys and they're looking for the fastball," Koehler said. "That kinda creates the bad luck. You get ahead of those guys in those situationsand maybe the outcome is different."
The three-run inning was completed with Michael McKerny's RBI single following a visit to the mound.
And since the Marlins had scored more than three runs only twice in the eight games since the All-Star break, the lead appeared safe.
But there was life after the deficit.
Miami got a run back when a 2-out RBI single from Donovan Solano scored Christian Yelich in the bottom of the first.
Then in the third, the heart of the order came through. Christian Yelich, Stanton and Logan Morrison had turned hits into runs.
"We kept ourselves in the game and gave ourself a chance," manager Mike Redmond said. "We were playing from behind all game, but I like the way we battled. A lot of good at-bats — early."
Just not late and Yelich exemplified the Marlins' night.
Called up from Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday, Yelich scored twice after singles in the first and third innings. But his 4-6-3 double play in the bottom ninth killed the final hope of a rally after a strike out and ground out.
Koehler, who had to duck under a Walker single in the third, had been solid recently. He hadn't allowed more than three earned runs in his last four starts that ended with three Marlin wins. Through four innings, he'd already thrown 88 pitches. He finished with 109 in five innings that included five earned runs and six strikeouts.
Twice he escaped innings by walking No. 8 hitter Jordy Mercer to bring opposing pitcher Charlie Morton up with two outs.
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