Miami at Pittsburgh

W: C. Morton (4-3) L: T. Koehler (3-7) S: M. Melancon (7)
HR: MIA - None   PIT - A. McCutchen (16)

Morton mows down Marlins as Pirates remain MLB's best wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- A classic sinkerballer, Charlie Morton has gotten out of countless jams by inducing a ground ball.

On Wednesday, one turned his entire outing around.

Morton shook off a shaky beginning to retire his final 11 batters over seven strong innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates maintained the best record in the majors with a 4-2 victory over the Miami Marlins.

Morton (4-3) beat Miami for the second time in an 11-day span despite allowing six hits over his first three-plus innings.

"He's got pitches to get outs and to get on a roll," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We've seen it in the past. The challenge in front of Charlie is consistency."

The Marlins had a single during each of the first three innings against Morton, and they took a 2-0 lead when they opened the fourth inning with three consecutive hits. Donovan Solano drove in Giancarlo Stanton with a bloop single over Neil Walker's head for the game's first run.

But conceding Miami's second run was a trade-off Morton and the Pirates were willing to make. Logan Morrison scored when Adeiny Hechavarria followed by grounding into a double play.

"He's capable of getting two outs with one pitch with somebody on base more than anyone we have," Hurdle said. "I do think that did give him a boost of confidence going into the rest of the game."

Morton did not allow any of the remaining hitters he faced to reach base.

"Initially, I give up two runs, and I don't want to give up runs," Morton said. "I don't want to put anything on the shoulders of anyone else -- I want to do my job. So when I don't and I give up runs, that's frustrating. But I have trust and faith in the guys in this clubhouse; they've been amazing all year. It's a lot of fun to watch."

Morton, who also had an RBI single, did not walk a batter and had five strikeouts in allowing two runs on six hits. Justin Wilson pitched a perfect eighth, and Mark Melancon was aided by Walker's catch on Stanton's line drive in earning his seventh save.

Second baseman Walker went to his right to stab a ball that was heading up the middle, then in one motion quickly threw to first to double up Ed Lucas.

Andrew McCutchen homered for the Pirates (69-44), who have won four straight and are a season-high 25 games over .500.

Christian Yelich had two hits for Miami, which has lost four in a row and scored eight runs in that span.

"We've had some good at-bats but we're not stringing them together," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We're piecing together one run here or one run there. Believe me, it's very frustrating. I know our guys our frustrated. You've got to keep plugging along and hopefully have that day where we string a bunch of hits together."

The go-ahead run came sprinting home in the Pittsburgh fifth when Tom Koehler's pitch to Starling Marte almost struck Marte in the face as he squared around to bunt on a safety squeeze.

Marte went down hard, and as the ball went to the backstop he jumped up to get out of the way as Jordy Mercer ran in from third.

That was one of two wild pitches by Koehler (3-7), who also hit a batter and allowed four hits and a walk in five innings. The rookie was the losing pitcher the previous time Morton beat Miami less than two weeks prior.

"I'm still a little aggravated about the fifth, to allow two runs and make the team fight back," Koehler said. "You've got to be able to shut it down, slam the door there. You give them a chance and they're going to capitalize on it. They didn't necessarily score their two runs as much as I gave them to them."

With one out and no one on in the fourth, McCutchen took a 3-1 pitch to right-center for his 16th home run, the second homer allowed by Koehler in his past seven starts.

McCutchen added an infield single in the eighth, and Pedro Alvarez followed with a sacrifice fly to pad the Pirates' lead. McCutchen, who is batting .359 at home this season, has a streak of five straight multihit games.


  • The start of the game was delayed by rain for 36 minutes.
  • Pirates LHP Wandy Rodriguez, on the disabled list since June 11 because of left forearm tightness, threw off a mound for the first time in his rehabilitation Tuesday.
  • The Marlins have lost five straight at PNC Park, dating to last season.
  • Two of the top rookie starters in the National League will pitch the series finale Thursday -- Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.69) and Miami's Jose Fernandez (8-5, 2.54). They faced each other July 28 at Marlins Park, when Fernandez had 13 strikeouts in a 3-2 victory.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
Players of the Game

A. McCutchen
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

C. Yelich
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Miami Marlins
Christian Yelich, LF4020000 .290
Ed Lucas, 3B4010011 .256
Giancarlo Stanton, RF4110001 .244
Logan Morrison, 1B4110031 .284
Donovan Solano, 2B3011000 .265
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS3010010 .241
Jacob Marisnick, CF3000010 .192
Rob Brantly, C3000010 .225
Tom Koehler, P2000000 .083
   a-Justin Ruggiano, PH1000000 .199
a-flied out for Webb in the 8th
2B - Logan Morrison (8, Morton)
RBI - Donovan Solano (18)
CS - Adeiny Hechavarria (8, 2nd base by Morton/Martin)
Team LOB - 2
DP - Hechavarria-Morrison, Hechavarria-Morrison-Brantly-Solano
Miami Marlins
Tom Koehler (L,3-7) 5433181 4.40
Ryan Webb 2000120 2.98
A.J. Ramos 1211010 3.19
WP - Tom Koehler 2 (6)
HBP - Mercer (by Tom Koehler), Harrison (by Ryan Webb)
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Koehler 90-56, Ryan Webb 27-17, A.J. Ramos 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Koehler 1-5, Ryan Webb 3-1
Batters Faced - Tom Koehler 20, Ryan Webb 8, A.J. Ramos 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Starling Marte, LF4000012 .275
Neil Walker, 2B3110111 .252
Andrew McCutchen, CF3121111 .312
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3001022 .239
Russell Martin, C4010032 .248
Garrett Jones, 1B3010012 .250
Josh Harrison, RF2100002 .250
Jordy Mercer, SS1100010 .277
Charlie Morton, P2011010 .118
   a-Alex Presley, PH-RF1000001 .274
a-popped out for Morton in the 7th
2B - Neil Walker (18, Ramos)
HR - Andrew McCutchen (16, Koehler)
SF - Pedro Alvarez (3)
SH - Jordy Mercer (4)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen (65), Pedro Alvarez (73), Charlie Morton (1)
SB - Andrew McCutchen (24, 2nd base off Webb/Brantly), Josh Harrison (2, 2nd base off Koehler/Brantly)
CS - Andrew McCutchen (6, 2nd base by Ramos/Brantly)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Walker-Mercer-G. Jones, Walker-Mercer-G. Jones-Walker-G. Sanchez
Pittsburgh Pirates
Charlie Morton (W,4-3) 7622050 3.88
Tony Watson (H,15) 1000010 3.21
Mark Melancon (S,7) 1100010 0.84
Pitches-Strikes - Charlie Morton 86-59, Tony Watson 11-8, Mark Melancon 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Charlie Morton 13-1, Tony Watson 1-1
Batters Faced - Charlie Morton 25, Tony Watson 3, Mark Melancon 3
Game Information
Attendance - 28173
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Victor Carapazza, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Kerwin Danley, Third Base - Lance Barksdale