MIAMI (AP) — Gerrit Cole snapped the longest winless drought of his career, Pedro Alvarez homered and the Pittsburgh Pirates held on to beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 on Thursday night.
Catcher Francisco Cervelli tripled and scored in the second inning for the Pirates, who took three out of four in the series. Alvarez made it 2-0 in the fourth on his 21st homer — the 18th of the solo variety.
Cole (15-7) allowed one run and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking none. Cole hadn't gotten the win in any of his previous five starts, and the Pirates are 45-22 all-time when he takes the mound.
Justin Nicolino (2-2) gave up two runs and six hits in six innings for the Marlins, who got two hits apiece from Marcell Ozuna and Martin Prado.
The Marlins got within 2-1 in the seventh when Derek Dietrich's sacrifice fly allowed Prado to score. Miami got what would have been the tying run to second with one out in the eighth, but left-hander Tony Watson relieved Cole and retired Dee Gordon and Ichiro Suzuki to strand J.T. Realmuto and keep the Pirates on top.
Mark Melancon gave up a leadoff single to Prado in the ninth, then got Justin Bour to hit into a double play and retired Ozuna on a grounder to finish off his 41st save in 43 chances.
It was the 32nd time the Marlins had been held to one run or less this season, losing all but one of those games. Pittsburgh won for the 64th time in its last 97 games, the best record in baseball over that span.
Pirates: Cervelli, who did not play Wednesday after banging up both feet on Tuesday, was back in the starting lineup. He got ejected in the bottom of the third after a pitch from Cole was ruled a ball, and Cervelli turned toward home plate umpire Alan Porter while appearing to take exception. That came moments after Cervelli grounded out to end the top of the third and leave the bases loaded.
Marlins: LF Christian Yelich (right ankle, right knee) was out of the lineup and is considered day-to-day. . RF Giancarlo Stanton (fractured left wrist) is set to take batting practice in Jupiter on Monday or Tuesday. Stanton — still far and away Miami's leader in home runs (27) and RBIs (67) despite missing 54 games and counting this season — is aiming to return to the lineup Sept. 4.
Pittsburgh still doesn't have a complete game this season; this would be the first Pirates team ever without one unless someone goes the distance in one of their final 36 games. The Marlins have gone 232 games without a complete game, the longest active streak in the majors.
Pirates: The Pirates have won each of Francisco Liriano's last 10 starts, and look to extend that Friday night when the LHP faces RHP Jon Gray (0-0, 5.94) and the Colorado Rockies. Liriano is 5-0 with a 3.19 ERA over that stretch, 9-6 with a 3.23 ERA for the season.
Marlins: LHP Adam Conley (1-1, 4.88) starts for Miami when the Marlins open a weekend series in Washington against the Nationals and RHP Max Scherzer (11-10, 2.79).
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