PITTSBURGH (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Marlins are hitting the road hoping to get back to the winning ways that saw the team win nine of out ten games at the end of July.
Now the Marlins head north to face the Pittsburgh Pirates who could be somewhat shorthanded entering the three-game set.
The Pirates could be without the reigning NL MVP as they open an eight-game homestand.
With Andrew McCutchen’s status uncertain, the Pirates hope they can at least rely on Charlie Morton’s home success when they face the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.
Pittsburgh (59-52) wrapped up a 5-5 road trip with a controversial defeat Sunday, losing 3-2 in 10 innings to Arizona. The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed slid into second base with his arms raised, deflecting a potential inning-ending double play relay and allowing the winning run to score.
Manager Clint Hurdle wanted Ahmed to be called for runner’s interference, but the play wasn’t reviewed and the crew chief said it could not be challenged.
Hurdle’s bigger concern was McCutchen, who exited after the top of the eighth with discomfort in his left side after hitting a sacrifice fly. There was no immediate word on his status.
McCutchen, batting .311 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs, has hit .452 in his last 12 meetings with Miami.
” … the side has never been a problem ever in my life, so I’ve never had to deal with this, so who knows,” McCutchen told MLB’s official website, adding that X-rays “were fine.”
Neil Walker also sat for the second straight day due to a tight lower back but is expected to play Tuesday.
The Pirates figure to be happy to return home, where they’ve won 14 of 17 with the starters posting a 2.51 ERA.
Morton (5-10, 3.54 ERA) has gone 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in his last four outings overall. The right-hander gave up a season-high nine hits and four runs – three in the first – over five innings of a 7-5 loss at San Francisco on Wednesday, not receiving a decision.
However, he’s 3-1 with a 1.36 ERA in his past six at PNC Park and has beaten the Marlins both times he’s faced them there in his career, posting a 2.77 ERA.
Morton has won three straight starts against Miami overall, the latest an 8-6 road victory June 14 in which he yielded two runs in seven innings.
The Marlins (54-57) have dropped four of five while totaling 11 runs and 30 hits. Leadoff hitter Christian Yelich has gone 3 for 17 in that span.
Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the club with 74 RBIs, struck out in all four of his at-bats in a 7-3 home loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. Miami was 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Manager Mike Redmond hopes his team will be refreshed following its first off-day since the All-Star break.
“Guys are beat up,” Redmond told MLB’s official website. “… We got a lot of guys that played a lot. They’re grinding and a little frustrated at times, which is natural. We’ll be fine though.”
Stanton is 5 for 13 off Morton and has batted .400 in his last nine matchups with Pittsburgh.
Brad Hand (2-3, 4.15) is 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA in six starts since joining the Miami rotation and has posted three straight outings of seven-plus innings for the first time in his career. The left-hander took the loss Wednesday, however, surrendering three runs in seven innings of a 4-3 defeat to Washington.
Hand, who has never faced Pittsburgh, will be backed by a bullpen that has given up two earned runs over its last 32 1-3 innings.
The Marlins have lost six straight at PNC Park while totaling 13 runs. They had dropped five straight in the series prior to a 3-2 home win in the last meeting June 15.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)