Happ pitches 6 innings to help Pirates beat Marlins 5-2
MIAMI (AP) The Pittsburgh Pirates got hit harder in the batter's box than J.A. Happ did on the mound.
While Happ threw six scoreless innings, the Pirates were fortunate to avoid injury against several wild relievers as they beat the Miami Marlins 5-2 on Monday night.
Erik Cordier was ejected when he plunked Sean Rodriguez - the only batter he faced - in the left hand. Starling Marte was hit in the arm an inning earlier, and Francisco Cervelli twice ducked out of the way of high inside pitches.
''It concerned the umpires enough to throw a guy out,'' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ''Anytime anything's hot and high, whether it's missed command - it does happen, but there's a point in time when it just doesn't look right.
''It's a hard position to judge intent. We're just going to move on.''
Marlins manager Dan Jennings argued with plate umpire Jeff Kellogg about Cordier's ejection while Rodriguez grinned as he walked to first base.
''The umpire did what he felt he had to do to control the game, but it was certainly no intent in that,'' Jennings said.
Marte and Rodriguez both scored after being hit.
''It wasn't bad intentions,'' teammate Gregory Polanco said in Spanish. ''But it bothered us a little bit because it wasn't one. It was three, four, five, six - all the pitches inside.''
Polanco had a season-high four hits and drove in a run. Andrew McCutchen hit a two-out, two-run double in the third, and Neil Walker contributed a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
The Pirates won for the sixth time in seven games to climb a season-high 27 games above .500. They have won five consecutive road games since Aug. 13, and they're 4-0 this year against Miami.
Happ improved to 2-1 in four starts since being acquired by the Pirates. He has been with his new teammates such a brief time he still refers to them in the third person.
''They're having a lot of fun, playing good baseball and doing a lot of little things right,'' Happ said. ''It's awful fun to watch.''
Happ's teammates enjoyed watching him, too. He gave up four hits and a walk, and even major league batting leader Dee Gordon was off balance, going 0 for 3 vs. the left-hander.
Happ has allowed one earned run in his past 17 1-3 innings.
''The curveball-slider combination played for him extremely well tonight,'' Hurdle said. ''He threw all four pitches extremely well - a real solid performance.''
The Marlins' scoreless streak reached 21 consecutive innings before they scored in the seventh against Jared Hughes on J.T. Realmuto's RBI groundout.
Tom Koehler (8-12) allowed two runs in six innings. He lost his sixth start in a row, and against the Pirates he fell to 0-4 in four career starts.
Mark Melancon came on with two on and none out in the ninth and faced only two batters to earn his 40th save, most in the majors.
Pittsburgh won despite going 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position.
Pirates: SS Jordy Mercer made his first start since landing on the DL on July 19 due to a sprained left knee. He went 1 for 4. ... RHP A.J. Burnett, who hasn't pitched since July 30 due to a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. ''If he proves he's healthy, (his return) could come sooner rather than later,'' Hurdle said. ''There is an intense `want to,' and he is being smart and listening to the right guys on the `how to.'''
Marlins: LF Christian Yelich (bruised right knee) targeted Tuesday to return from the DL. On Monday, Yelich shagged fly balls for the first time since his injury.
In the second of a four-game series at the Marlins, Pittsburgh will start RHP Charlie Morton (8-4. 4.06 ERA). The Pirates have won each of the past five games Morton has started. The Marlins will go with LHP Brad Hand, whose 7-20 career record as a starter is the worst among active pitchers, according to STATS. He's 3-2 this year.