The Marlins fought to get into extra innings on Friday night, but in the end, the visiting Pirates won a game they led for the first eight innings anyway.
Miami scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth, yet lost 8-6 when Gregory Polanco cracked a two-run homer over the right-field wall in the top of the 13th inning.
“That was a long battle,” Miami manager Mike Redmond said. “Give our guys a lot of credit, they kept fighting and got us back into the game. We were sloppy early. We were behind the 8-ball from the start.
“... At the end of it, we still had a chance to win that game. That’s a testament to our guys. To fight that hard and lose, it’s a tough one to swallow.”
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Pittsburgh, which has won three in a row, led 6-2 going into the bottom of the fifth and held that up until the ninth.
Miami got the four runs it needed by taking advantage of six walks from three Pittsburgh pitchers and just one base hit.
Yet the Marlins didn’t do anything else against the Pirates’ bullpen. In the 13th, Clint Barmes led off with a single and moved to second. Polanco, who had five hits Friday, launched a line drive off lefty reliever Mike Dunn to win it.
Miami got its first run of the ninth when Ed Lucas grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Marcell Ozuna (who walked to lead off the inning) from third.
With two outs, the Marlins got two runs on its lone base hit of the inning when Reed Johnson’s single brought in Adeiny Hechavarria and Jeff Mathis.
With two outs and runners on the corners, closer Jason Grilli was instructed to intentionally walk slugger Giancarlo Stanton — who had homered to right earlier in the evening — and put the potentially tying game-winning run in scoring position.
That unconventional decision loomed large after Mark Melancon — pitcher No. 3 in the ninth — walked Casey McGehee.
That non-intentional free pass brought home Rafael Furcal and tied the score for the first time.
Miami still had the bases loaded but couldn’t end it as Ozuna, who started the whole thing off, struck out.
Miami’s late dramatics pulled starter Nathan Eovaldi out of a certain loss after he got off to a rocky start and never really recovered.
Eovaldi gave up two runs to the first two batters he faced and lasted just 4 2/3 innings — his second-shortest start of his season.
Of course, Eovaldi’s struggles Friday could stem from his mind being somewhere else.
Eovaldi’s wife Rebekah is back in Texas and is scheduled to have the couple’s first child this weekend, and he said he would have left the team if word came in that she was close to delivering.
All six of Pittsburgh’s runs Friday were earned and charged to Eovaldi as the Marlins came up in the fifth down 6-2. That score wouldn’t change until the bottom of the ninth.
The Pirates grabbed a quick 2-0 lead when Starling Marte deposited the fifth pitch of the night into the left-field seats.
The Marlins cut their deficit to one run on two separate occasions only to see the Bucs open things up with three runs in the fifth.
Eovaldi got into quick trouble in the inning. Polanco and Marte led off with singles and came home on Ike Davis’ double down the right-field line.
Down 5-2, Redmond pulled Eovaldi for lefty Dan Jennings.
The Pirates added their sixth run when Jordy Mercer’s grounder up the middle eluded Furcal at second, scoring Davis.
Eovaldi gave up 10 hits on 92 pitches with three strikeouts. The top of the Pittsburgh order did a lot of the damage with Marte tying a career-high with four hits; Polanco singled in four of his five trips to the plate.
Down 2-0, Miami picked up its first run in the second when Jeff Baker scored on a two-out single by Jeff Mathis.
Miami got its second run of the night in the third when Stanton went deep for the 18th time this season — but his first home run since June 5.