For most of four innings, the Pirates couldn't do much against Tom Koehler. Koehler somehow thought he could get a grooved 3-1 fastball to Andrew McCutchen that was promptly deposited in the right-center grandstands, but that was the only hit he'd given up in the first four innings to go along with seven strikeouts and only one walk.
Just like, it all fell apart for the Marlins. Koehler gave up a leadoff single to Garrett Jones in the fifth. Jones was swapped for Josh Harrison on a fielder's choice, then Harrison stole second on the first pitch of Jordy Mercer's at-bat without even drawing a throw. Koehler hit Mercer with the very next pitch. He had a whole bunch of trouble with hitters squaring around to bunt after that; his first pitch to Charlie Morton was way up in the zone and his second pitch squirted past Rob Brantly to allow Mercer and Harrison to move up a base. Morton then somehow singled Harrison home to tie the game up (Morton entered the game 1-for-15 in 2013). When Starling Marte squared around to bunt, Koehler again aimed for his head and threw a wild pitch, which scored Mercer and gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
That was enough for Charlie Morton. Morton got into trouble in the fourth inning, when the Marlins started with a single-double-single sequence, but other than that he scattered three hits over the rest of his seven innings. He forced a ridiculous amount of groundballs (the Pirates outfield didn't record one out while he was on the mound; his seven innings saw 13 groundouts, five strikeouts, two double plays, and a caught stealing), and the Pirates played some pretty spectacular infield defense behind him, with Pedro Alvarez turning in one gem in particular that I know has been all over SportsCenter tonight.
A home run, some opportunistic offense, and a strong outing from both the pitching staff and the defense. This is a pretty familiar recipe for the Pirates. The Cardinals lost to the Dodgers, which means that in the early hours of August 8th, the Pirates hold a three game lead in the NL Central.no comments