It might cause Abner Doubleday to spin in his grave, but perhaps the Marlins should petition the league by proposing a radical rule change that would reduce from three to two the number of outs in an inning.
It might have saved the Fish in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates erupted for five runs — all of them coming with two outs in the seventh on Wednesday — to rally for a 5-2 victory and polish off a series sweep of the sputtering Marlins.
Of the 14 runs allowed by the Marlins in the series, 11 came with two outs.
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“The story of the game, again, five runs with two outs,” manager Dan Jennings said. “You’ve got to be able to shut down an inning. You’ve got to be able to close it out. We did not do that today.”
They didn’t do it in Tuesday’s loss, either, when all of the Pirates’ scoring in their 5-1 victory came with two outs.
“It’s just about executing a pitch to finish off a hitter, or executing a pitch to shut down the inning,” Jennings said. “You get two outs, you feel like you should be able to do that and certainly stop the bleeding before five runs touch the plate.”
The Marlins have now lost 14 of their past 17 games and are 2-8 since Jennings took over as manager.
The latest cataclysm was isolated to the seventh inning Wednesday, an inning that started out harmlessly enough when lefty reliever Mike Dunn retired the first two batters.
It would require two more Marlins relievers and eight more Pirates hitters to get the third out.
After Dunn gave up a pair of singles, including a hard-hit grounder by Jose Tabata that skipped off the arm of Dee Gordon, Jennings brought in right-hander Sam Dyson to face right-handed hitter Josh Harrison.
The move paid off, but only for the Pirates.
Harrison drove in the Pirates’ first run with a single, pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez tied it at 2-2 with his RBI single, and Dyson walked the next two batters, the latter with the bases loaded, as the Pirates took a 3-2 lead.
Jennings then brought in Carter Capps, who promptly gave up a two-run single to Jung Ho Kong, and that was all she wrote for the Marlins, who managed to score only five runs in the series.
“I was falling behind guys; lack of execution,” Dyson said. “I fell behind guys, so they were swinging at everything over the plate. I might as well put it on a tee for them.”
It looked for six innings like the Marlins would salvage one win out of a series in a ballpark where they haven’t performed well historically. The Marlins have lost 11 of their past 12 games at PNC Park and are 16-31 there all-time.
Brad Hand held his ground against Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, holding Pittsburgh scoreless for five innings before the converted reliever’s pitch count reached a point where he could go no further.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Brad Hand,” Jennings said. “He stepped up in a big spot, gave us five strong [innings]. The thing that I liked the most was that he pitched to both sides of the plate.”
The Marlins’ only scoring came on solo home runs by Justin Bour and Christian Yelich, who also had two long fly balls caught on the warning track on Wednesday.
But it wasn’t enough.
“Solo home runs, you’re not going to win games on — very, very seldom,” Jennings said.
Just ask the Pirates.
They scored their five runs on five singles and a pair of walks. There wasn’t one extra-base hit, much less a home run, in the damaging sequence for the Marlins.