Josh Bell's two-run double keyed a four-run, eighth-inning rally and the Miami Marlins moved closer to a playoff berth with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
The Marlins did little through seven innings but broke through against Colin Selby (2-2) to reduce their magic number to earn the NL's third wild-card spot to two.
Miami entered the weekend with a chance to clinch the franchise's first playoff berth in a non-pandemic-shortened season since 2003. The Marlins didn't get into Pittsburgh until almost dawn on Friday morning following a long night in New York in which their game against the Mets was delayed for more than three hours with two outs in the top of the ninth before finally being suspended with the Marlins up 2-1.
They would love to avoid needing a return trip to Citi Field to wrap up the regular season. Their 10th victory when trailing after seven innings this season helped.
Miami had just one runner reach third base over the first seven innings before jumping on Selby when he came on for Ryan Borucki with one out in the eighth.
Garrett Sampson started the surge with a single. Luis Arraez followed with a pinch-single that raised his batting average to a major league-best .354. Selby loaded the bases with a walk to Jorge Soler and Bell — who spent his first four seasons with the Pirates from 2017-20 — delivered a double off the right-field wall to bring the Marlins within one.
Jake Burger's RBI single tied the game and Jazz Chisholm's sacrifice fly off Carmen Mlodzinski put Miami in front. Huascar Brazoban (5-2) earned the victory with a scoreless seventh. Tanner Scott worked a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 15 chances.
Miami improved to 33-13 in one-run games, a turnaround from 24-40 last year.
Edward Cabrera whose strong performances this month have played an important role in Miami's surge to contention, allowed three runs — two earned — six hits with three walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Miami closed on its first postseason berth in a full 162-game season since beating the New York Yankees to win the 2003 World Series.
Endy Rodriguez had two hits and an RBI for the Pirates. Liover Pegeuro and Conner Joe also had two hits for Pittsburgh but the bullpen faltered late as the Pirates lost for the ninth time when leading after seven innings.
Marlins: Arraez (ankle), who is almost assured of winning the NL batting title a year after he did the same in the American League while playing for Minnesota, fielded some grounders at second base and did some running before making just his third appearance since Sept. 18. Arraez was replaced by pinch runner Nick Fortes following his single in the eighth.
The series continues on Saturday evening.
for more features.