Fernandez tosses 7 scoreless innings in 3-1 win
MIAMI (AP) Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before Tuesday night's game, ''You're not going to beat a good pitcher with his good stuff.''
Unfortunately for the Pirates, Marlins ace Jose Fernandez had his good stuff.
Fernandez pitched seven scoreless innings to help the Miami Marlins beat Gerrit Cole and the Pirates 3-1.
''Jose was a really good again today,'' Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ''I think we see every time out. It's almost like he's getting better every time.''
Fernandez (8-2) struck out six and gave up three hits while throwing 62 of 88 pitches for strikes. His curveball was particularly effective.
''Oh my gosh, get behind home plate and watch it,'' Hurdle said. ''It's almost like a Wiffle ball breaking ball. Then he throws the fastball at 98 and you've got to guess to hit that.''
Fernandez, who improved to 22-1 at home and lowered his season ERA to 2.53, exited after the seventh inning with the Marlins leading 3-0.
''He didn't want to come out,'' Mattingly said. ''He wants to pitch the whole game every game and he was at a pitch count tonight where you're comfortable letting him go out. ... He probably could have finished that game tonight, but he's also a kid we're still on the pitching plan in a sense with him through the course of the season and you're still trying to work the whole season to keep him available the whole year.''
Christian Yelich had a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh, J.T. Realmuto had three hits for the Marlins, and A.J. Ramos pitched a shaky ninth for his 16th save.
Miami's Ichiro Suzuki had two hits to tie Sam Crawford for 31st on MLB's all-time hit list with 2,963.
Cole (5-4) allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Ramos loaded the bases in the ninth with no outs. Gregory Polanco, who hit a grand slam in Monday's 10-0 win, hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to cut the deficit to 3-1.
''When I hit it I knew I could have hit it better,'' Polanco said.
Ramos then struck out Jung Ho Kang and Starling Marte flied out to end the game with two runners on.
''(Ramos) has actually been pretty clean most of the year,'' Mattingly said. ''We've had a couple of these (close ones), but A.J. seems to like that situation. I don't know if he knows what it does to the rest of us, but A.J. doesn't seem to get rattled when that's going on.''
The Marlins broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the seventh inning. Suzuki and Realmuto singled with one out before Yelich's base hit to right scored Suzuki.
''That slider got too much of the plate to Yelich,'' Cole said.
A wild pitch by Cole allowed Realmuto to score and Justin Bour's groundout extended the lead to 3-0.
''We got (Cole) in trouble a couple times, but he was able to make some really good pitches and get out of it,'' Yelich said. ''We were able to push a couple of runs across in the seventh and that's all we needed.''
Fernandez was in complete control allowing only one baserunner in scoring position. He is 5-0 with a 0.79 ERA over his past five starts.
''He's got very good stuff,'' Polanco said.
Cole got out of a bases loaded jam with one out in the sixth when Chris Johnson lined out to second and Adeiny Hechavarria hit a soft fly ball to right field.
2011 DRAFT CLASS
Cole was selected first overall in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft by Pittsburgh while Fernandez went 14th to the Marlins.
''We have some good ones now in the big leagues doing a good job like (Francisco) Lindor, (Javier) Baez, and a bunch of guys,'' Fernandez said. ''Just fun to play this game and lucky to be here.''
HURDLE STILL MARVELING
Hurdle was thoroughly impressed the day after Monday's 10-0 win.
''All in all that may have been the best game I've ever watched in a Pirates uniform,'' Hurdle said before Tuesday's game. ''The ability for us to defend the way we did, the ability for Jeff (Locke) to pitch the way he did, and the ability for us to maintain dominance in the box the way we did last night - all of those three facets played out incredibly well for me.''
Marlins: RF Giancarlo Stanton (right side soreness) missed his seventh consecutive games although Mattingly said before the game Stanton would likely be available to pinch-hit. ... LHP Mike Dunn (forearm) was reinstated from the DL and is looking to make his season debut. ... RHP Bryan Morris (back) will undergo surgery, but Mattingly is hopeful he will be able to return before the end of the season.
Pirates LHP Jonathon Niese (5-2, 4.42 ERA) will start the third game of the series on Wednesday. Niese is 5-0 with a 3.74 ERA in his last nine starts against Miami, all as a member of the Mets.
Marlins LHP Adam Conley (3-3, 4.15) will start Wednesday's game in search of his second quality start in his last six outings after 7 2-3 no-hit innings at Milwaukee on April 29.