After Jose Urena hit Josh Harrison with a pitch, the Pirates hit him.
Unlike Harrison, Urena sustained no damage to his body, only to his pitching line.
But the outcome Sunday was another painful loss for the Marlins, who are steadily sinking in the standings. The 7-3 setback was their ninth loss in their past 11 games.
And now they head out on the road to face the New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers, all teams that are expected to figure prominently in the September playoff races.
The Marlins have lost four straight series with Sunday's defeat.
"This was a little rougher one," said manager Don Mattingly. "They're not really beating us down (on Sunday), but more like a couple (runs) here, another one, another one, another one. They had us in harm's way pretty much all day long."
Urena, the Marlins’ top starter, couldn’t give the Marlins what would have been their first series win of the season in Sunday’s rubber match with the Pirates.
While he labored from the outset, he fell apart in the third inning that began when he hit Harrison in the left wrist with a 95 mile-per-hour fastball.
"He just really hasn't been able to put the whole package together," Mattingly said. "He's had sections of games that have been really good. (But) he's had some rough starts."
Harrison left the game, and the Pirates hitters went to work on Urena, reeling off four straight hits in a three-run inning from which the Marlins were never able to recover.
And Pirates starter Ivan Nova, in what looked every bit like a payback pitch, smacked JB Shuck with a pitch in the buttocks to start the Marlins’ third.
"Sometimes you feel like you've got to do something on the other side," Mattingly said. "In a sense, it was done the right way. It was the first pitch. There was no doubt about why he did it. He did it in the right spot, and it's over. When it's done right, the message is fine. But I don't think it's going to cause a war or nothing."
Urena threw 87 pitches over five innings before coming out.
The Marlins’ scored in the first when their top three hitters strung together three straight singles. But the no-outs, bases-loaded opportunity resulted in only one run, which came on Brian Anderson’s ground out.
After that, the Marlins’ bats remained quiet until Justin Bour smacked a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh. For Bour, who didn't start Sunday due to what manager Don Mattingly said were "foot issues," it was the fourth home run in five games.
Still, Bour and the rest of the Marlins were no match for the Pirates' Starling Marte, who capped off his 5-for-5 performance with a ninth-inning solo homer off Junichi Tazawa.
J.T. Realmuto nearing return from DL
Catcher J.T. Realmuto is nearing his return from the disabled list and will likely join the Marlins during their upcoming road trip that begins Monday in New York against the Yankees.
Realmuto caught five innings and went 3 for 3 with a home run and double Saturday in his first rehab game for Single A Jupiter.
Manager Don Mattingly said it’s uncertain at what point during the three-city, 10-game trip Realmuto will join the team. Realmuto was scheduled to play in another rehab game Sunday for Jupiter and catch seven innings.
Realmuto suffered a back injury in a spring training game on March 11 and started the season on the DL.
The Marlins are presently carrying three catchers on their 25-man roster: Chad Wallach, Bryan Holaday and Tomas Telis. Of the three, Wallach is the only one who still has options and could be sent to the minors without having to first clear waivers.