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Pittsburgh at Miami

Venue: Marlins Park
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Although the majors' best pitching staff held down baseball's worst offense, the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn't overcome their struggles at the plate against the Miami Marlins.

Now, the Pirates will try to rebound and avoid their third straight loss Saturday night at Marlins Park.

Miami closer Steve Cishek converted his 16th straight save opportunity by retiring pinch-hitter Jose Tabata with two on to lock down Friday's 2-0 series-opening victory.

Pittsburgh (60-41) finished with five hits and struck out 11 times, raising its total to 39 over the last three games.

The Pirates also went hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position, dropping their major-league worst average in those situations to .219. They're 9 for 84 (.107) in those key situations over their last nine games.

Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte are a combined 1 for 27 with runners in scoring position during this stretch. McCutchen is also 2 for 16 overall in his last four games, while Marte is 2 for 28 in his last seven.

Jordy Mercer is one of the few Pirates currently performing well, batting .341 during a career-best 11-game hitting streak.

Pittsburgh hopes for a better offensive performance against Miami starter Tom Koehler (2-5, 4.38 ERA).

After spending some time at Triple-A New Orleans, Koehler struck out seven and limited Colorado to one run over seven innings in Monday's 3-1 road win.

"He had great command," said manager Mike Redmond of the right-hander's first big-league start since July 2. "He was pounding his fastball in and out and threw some great breaking balls."

Koehler looks for his first win at Marlins Park, where he's 0-3 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts. He'll try to continue an outstanding run by the team's starters, who have a 2.44 ERA since the All-Star break.

"It's unreal going in knowing you have a chance even though the bats haven't been there, and knowing one run may be enough,'' slugger Giancarlo Stanton said. "You can go about the game completely differently.''

The Marlins (39-62), batting a major-league worst .232, have won four of five despite totaling 15 runs over that span.

They also rank last in the majors with 61 home runs, though Stanton hit the team's fourth in five games Friday. He's 4 for 6 in his last two games following a 2-for-21 slump.

Scheduled Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton (2-2, 3.35) has been plagued by the home run of late, giving up five in his last three outings after allowing none in his first four.

After allowing a season-high four earned runs in a 4-1 road loss to the Cubs on July 6, the right-hander has yielded five runs and 12 hits over 13 2-3 innings in consecutive quality starts.

Morton is 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins, though he hasn't faced them since 2011.

Morton isn't expected to be throwing to catcher Russell Martin, who tweaked his left knee blocking home plate on a play in the second inning Friday. He left the game in the seventh and said he would likely take Saturday off.

"I've actually had something like this before, and I played with it in the past," Martin said. "It's a little uncomfortable, but it doesn't keep me from doing anything physically.''

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Charlie Morton, RHP
2013 stats
37.2 Innings Pitched 76.0
2-2 Wins-Losses 2-5
3.35 Earned Run Average 4.38
11 Walks 23
27 Strikeouts 48
80 Pitches Per Start 91
Career vs. opponent
32.0 Innings Pitched -
2-3 Wins-Losses ---
5.06 Earned Run Average -

Tom Koehler, HP
Weather
weather image  Widely scattered tstorms. High level clouds. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
83°F78°F8mph/S75%45%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central7950.61257-3 L 1
Miami4th NL East5379.40220 ½ 3-7 W 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Tom Koehler
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Barmes000000
Black000000
Burnett000000
Cole000000
Gomez000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Charlie Morton
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Dobbs52001.400
Stanton52012.400
Morrison31000.333
Polanco62001.333
Cishek000000
 

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Injuries
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
A. BurnettElbow
B. CumptonElbow
C. HartShoulder
G. HernandezShoulder
T. IshikawaBack
A. LamboFoot
J. SellersAchilles
Miami
PlayerInjury
H. AlvarezShoulder
J. BakerIntercostal
C. CappsElbow
A. CrowElbow
J. FernandezShoulder
K. FloresShoulder
D. KellyElbow
D. PhelpsForearm
G. StantonWrist
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 6MIAATL 2-1Teheran Alvarez 
Apr 7MIAATL 12-2Wood Latos 
Apr 8MIAATL 2-0Cunniff Koehler 
Apr 13ATLATL 3-2Miller Latos 
Apr 14ATLMIA 8-2Koehler Cahill 
Apr 15ATLMIA 6-2Haren Stults 
May 15MIAATL 5-3Martin Dunn 
May 16MIAATL 5-3Wood Latos 
May 17MIAATL 6-0Miller Alvarez 
Aug 6ATLATL 9-8McKirahan Morris 
Aug 7ATLATL 6-3Detwiler Flores 
Aug 8ATLATL 7-2Foltynewicz Koehler 
Aug 9ATLMIA 4-1Hand Miller 
Aug 31ATLMIA 4-0Narveson Miller 
Sep 1ATL 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 2ATL12:10 PM EDT  
Sep 25MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 26MIA 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 27MIA 1:10 PM EDT