The Pittsburgh Pirates had an extra day coming off the All-Star break. Their visiting opponents this weekend, the Miami Marlins, probably wish they had also had one, too.
Instead, Miami had a single game Thursday against the visiting Texas Rangers, a makeup from an early-season postponement.
The Marlins fell 8-0, extending their losing streak to four games and their scoreless streak to 34 innings. The franchise record is 37 innings, reached in 2013.
Miami also has tied a club record with nine straight games without a home run.
“This is the same group of guys that was able to put runs up earlier in the year,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
“We were hoping with this three-day break was going to be something that we would bounce back and come out of this with some energy and it would look a little different, but it hasn’t.”
Miami is opening a seven-game road trip Friday.
Leading into the break, the Pirates had something of an interesting road trip. It was their longest of the year at 12 games in 11 days to four cities.
The Pirates ended up needing to beat Colorado 8-3 Sunday to salvage an even trip at 6-6. They lost their first two games against the Rockies that series by a combined 15-2.
“I give our group a ton of credit,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said.
Embedded in that trip was a four-game series against the Marlins. The teams split, with Pittsburgh winning the first two games during a four-game winning streak, then dropping the second two games that became part of a four-game losing streak.
“We played well in Miami, and then got walked off the last two nights there in extra innings,” Shelton said.
He added that those two losses plus the two lopsided setbacks in Colorado could have made for a miserable break for his club without Sunday’s win, so it was “really important for the group.”
The Marlins could not do what Pittsburgh did — win a game Sunday to avoid a sweep. For them, it was a 4-0 loss to Philadelphia to give the Phillies a three-game sweep.
Perhaps the Pirates and Marlins can grab a bit of a spark from their All-Star Game pitchers.
Miami ace Sandy Alcantara pitched a perfect second inning, and Pittsburgh closer David Bednar pitched a scoreless ninth for the National League.
“It’s just another game,” Alcantara said. “I just throw my best pitches and compete.”
Bednar was much more excitable.
“I wish I had better words to describe it,” said Bednar, who grew up in Western Pennsylvania as a Pirates fan.
“It’s special. It’s unbelievable to do it not only, period, but to do it for the team I grew up watching.”
Bednar should be available if needed Friday. Alcantara is projected to start Sunday against Pittsburgh.
Miami left-hander Braxton Garrett (1-3, 3.70 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday. The Pirates had not identified a starter for the series opener as of Thursday.
Garrett is coming off his first career start against Pittsburgh. He did not get a decision in the Marlins’ 3-2 win July 14, but he set a career high with 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings, with two hits and two walks.
–Field Level Media