McCutchen hits into-game ending DP as Pirates fall to Miami

Pittsburgh Pirates' Francisco Cervelli, left, tags out Miami Marlins' J.T. Realmuto in the fourth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. (AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Intentionally walking the batter in front of Andrew McCutchen with the game on the line would have been close to unfathomable in other seasons.

The Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder finished in the top five in the NL MVP voting for four straight seasons from 2012-15, winning the award in 2013.

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly made that move Friday night and the strategy worked.

Robert Andino hit a tiebreaking single in the top of the ninth inning, then the Marlins got McCutchen to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded to hold off the Pirates 6-5 in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders.

Fernando Rodney wound up with his 22nd save in 24 opportunities. He issued an intentional walk to Starling Marte to load the bases for McCutchen, but he bounced into a double play to finish an 0 for 4 night that dropped his batting average to .246.

“It’s a tough decision,” Mattingly said. “At least, we have a (potential) force play if we load the bases, so if we get a ground ball then we have a chance to get (a double play).”

JT Realmuto, who homered in going 3 for 3, drew a leadoff walk in the Miami ninth from Neftali Feliz (4-1). Realmuto moved up on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Andino lined his single into left field.

Feliz felt a mechanical problem with his delivery led to his erratic outing.

“I noticed that I was opening up a little bit and leaving the ball up,” he said.

Christian Yelich and Miguel Rojas also each had three hits and a homer as the Marlins won for just the third time in nine games. The Pirates’ loss was their second in eight games.

Nick Wittgren (4-2) pitched a scoreless eighth.

The Marlins scored twice in the eighth off Felipe Rivero to make it 5-all. Rojas hit a solo homer, his first of the season, and Dee Gordon reached on a double error by third baseman Jung Ho Kang with two outs and came home on Yelich’s single.

The Pirates went ahead 5-3 with a three-run seventh. The first run scored on pitcher Dustin McGowan’s throwing error, then Josh Harrison hit a sacrifice fly and Marte doubled in a run.

Marte had three hits. David Freese put the Pirates ahead 2-1 hit a two-run homer, his 12th, in the fourth inning off Tom Koehler.

“It was two teams out there battling, and we didn’t do enough things well enough to win,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Pirates starter Gerrit Cole gave up three runs and 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings.

“There were a lot of pitches that I made and executed that fell in for hits,” Cole said. “There were a few mistakes but some weird luck, too.”


Marlins: RHP A.J. Ramos (fractured right middle finger) pitched a simulated game and the closer could be activated from the disabled list Sunday after being out since Aug. 9.


1B Xavier Scruggs was in the Marlins’ lineup and went 1 for 3 with a walk after his contract was selected from Triple-A New Orleans. LHP Chris Narveson was designated for assignment.

Scruggs, who hit .408 with five home runs in his last 10 minor leagues games, will get a chance to help fill the void that has existed since 1B Justin Bour (sprained right ankle) went on DL on July 3. The Marlins have been platooning INF/OF Derek Dietrich and INF Chris Johnson at first.


Marlins: RHP David Phelps (6-6, 2.48 ERA) starts Saturday night and is 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA in three outings since being moved into the rotation from the bullpen.

Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (3-0, 3.73) makes his seventh career start and Pittsburgh is 6-0 in games the rookie has pitched.