The Pittsburgh Pirates have equaled their longest winning streak in nearly three years, and they will look to tack on another triumph Wednesday night when they visit the Miami Marlins in the third contest of a four-game series.
The Pirates’ modest winning streak of four games is their best run since also winning four in a row from Sept. 24-27, 2019.
Pittsburgh now takes aim at its first five-game winning streak since April 14-20, 2019.
“It speaks to the competitiveness of this group,” All-Star closer David Bednar said of the hot stretch. “We come to compete every single day and we do that to make things happen.”
The Pirates have outscored Miami 8-3 in the first two games of the series. Jake Marisnick homered in both contests, his first two games back from the injured list.
Impressive rookie Oneil Cruz added an RBI triple and scored a run in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 victory on Tuesday. Cruz has four homers and 16 RBIs in 21 games since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Pittsburgh has made it a trend of playing well against the Marlins. The back-to-back victories mean the Pirates have won 14 of the past 20 meetings since the beginning of the 2018 season.
The Pittsburgh players can feel a little momentum building.
“We’re playing good ball,” said reliever Wil Crowe, who tossed a perfect eighth inning on Tuesday. “We’re pitching it well, we’re hitting it well, we’re playing defense. We’re doing all the things right, so it’s good to be a little hot and take it into the All-Star break and see what happens.”
The Marlins will try to burst some of the Pirates’ exuberance on Wednesday, but they likely will have to do so without first baseman/designated hitter Garrett Cooper.
Cooper bruised his left knee when he fouled a pitch off of himself in the sixth inning on Tuesday. He finished the at-bat and then exited the contest.
“It’s swollen,” Cooper said. “Hopefully in a day or two I’ll be good. Nothing broken. That’s all that matters.”
Cooper was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time in his career earlier on Tuesday. He is batting .296 with seven homers and 40 RBIs in 77 games.
If Cooper isn’t available, that will rate as a blow to a Miami offense already missing All-Star second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. (back) and outfielder Jorge Soler (pelvis).
The Marlins have scored just 21 runs over their past nine games, though they did win four of those contests.
“You hit these little lulls when you don’t score and that’s when you are hoping one or two guys are hot and can carry you,” said Miami manager Don Mattingly, while pointing out there aren’t any hot Marlins at the moment.
Pablo Lopez (6-4, 2.91 ERA) will be on the mound Wednesday for Miami.
The right-hander beat the New York Mets in his latest turn as he gave up one run and four hits over five innings on Friday.
Lopez, 26, won his lone career start against the Pirates on June 15, 2019, when he gave up three runs and seven hits over seven innings.
Pittsburgh’s Yoshi Tsutsugo is 2-for-4 with a homer against Lopez.
The Pirates will counter with right-hander JT Brubaker (2-8, 4.34 ERA), who will be facing the Marlins for the first time.
Brubaker lost to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday when he gave up three runs and five hits over five innings. He struggled with his control, walking a season-worst five.
Avisail Garcia (1-for-5) is the only Miami hitter who has faced Brubaker, 28.
–Field Level Media