PIT 3, MIA 1: Marlins suffer rare implosion in ninth

For the first time all season, the Marlins were defeated despite entering the ninth inning with a lead.

It’s been a rare sight for the Marlins this year, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. A combination of usual-shutdown closer A.J. Puk and Dylan Floro allowed three runs in the ninth inning to cough up what would have been a 1-0 Marlins victory.

Puk, who had not given up a run in nine consecutive starts dating back to May 6, allowed a leadoff single to pinch hitter Josh Palacios. After getting Ke’Bryan Hayes to fly out to left field, Andrew McCutchen singled.

Palacios and McCutchen executed a successful double steal, which allowed Palacios to subsequently score the game-tying run on a Connor Joe ground out. Still at second base with cleanup hitter Carlos Santana at the plate, McCutchen stole third and later scored the go-ahead run on a Santana single to center field.

“They got hits,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “But the stolen bases…we got exposed again today. We really have to clean that part of our game up.”

The Marlins are allowing .91 stolen bases per game—fifth-worst in the majors.

“We’ve had conversations all year long,” Schumaker said. “So I guess I have to message it a little differently to figure that out. Because it’s a real thing. Especially late in the game. You give guys chances to get back into a game. It kind of affected the outcome.”

Dylan Floro came in relief of Puk with two outs and allowed an RBI single to pinch hitter Tucupita Marcano.

Jesús Luzardo pitches gem

If I had a nickel for every time a Marlins left-handed pitcher threw a gem against the Pittsburgh Pirates this week, I’d have two nickels.

One night after teammates Braxton Garrett gave up one earned run against the Pittsburgh Pirates and struck out a career-high 13 batters in seven innings, Jesús Luzardo tossed a seven-inning shutout en route to a 3-1 loss.

Luzardo allowed a first-inning single to Connor Joe and proceeded to retire the next 10 batters before allowing a single to Henry Davis in the fifth inning. That single was then negated by a double play on the next at-bat to Rodolfo Castro.

Those were the only two hits Luzardo gave up Friday night.

It was Luzardo’s third time this season he completed seven innings, and the first time in his career he pitched into the eighth, although he was pulled after giving up his only walk all game to leadoff hitter Henry Davis.

Luzardo looked equally effective on his four-seam fastball, slider, and changeup. Five of his nine strikeouts were on the slider, with three of them being on the fastball, and one on the changeup.

Luzardo said he wanted to get back to relying on all of his pitches this year instead of falling back on one of them.

“I kind of got away from it,” Luzardo said. “Last year I felt like it helped me out a lot just being able to use both sides of the plate, going east-to-west, north-to-south instead of just pounding one side of the plate and relying on two pitches. Nick (Fortes) has done a good job with me just creating a game plan, following it, and being able to find certain areas to use both sides of the plate with all of my pitches.”

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was the only time this season that Marlins starters have gone seven or more innings in back-to-back-to-back games.

On the Pittsburgh side, Luis Ortiz overcame early trouble to complete a career-high eight innings, inducing three double plays along the way. The Pirates’ 10-game losing streak is no more.

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