Rojas, Cooper late homers help Marlins end record road skid
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jose Urena was the Miami Marlins’ opening day starter. He is now finishing the season as the closer.
Miguel Rojas hit a tying home run with two outs in the ninth inning and Garrett Cooper connected in the 10th as the Marlins rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night, ending their franchise-record 15-game road losing streak.
Urena then pitched a perfect 10th for his first save of the season and second of his career. He had been on the injured list since June 8 with a strained lower back until being activated Sunday and Miami has decided to look at him as a late-inning reliever.
“You could tell he’s got that energy,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s aggressive with his stuff. His stuff is always good. This kind of closing the game down at the end, it fits his personality. So, it’s going to be fun to watch. Hopefully, we can put him in position to get a few more and see how it goes.”
The National League-worst Marlins seemed in position to lose away from home yet again, down to their final out when Rojas homered to center field off Felipe Vazquez, who had just his third blown save in 27 opportunities.
“An amazing feeling, man,” Rojas said. “I just feel like any time you have the opportunity to change the game in that form, it’s really amazing to give guys the opportunity to win.”
Cooper’s home run, a 444-foot shot to left-center, came with one out off Parker Markel (0-1).
“Hitter’s count, 1-0, he threw a slider that didn’t do much and I put a good swing on it,” Cooper said. “I think we come in every day with a new mindset. We’re not worried about the day before or the week before. We have a lot of good veterans in the clubhouse that keep it real with us. Try to win the day.”
Adam Conley (2-7) got the last out of the ninth when Pablo Reyes was thrown out at home while trying to score from second base on Adam Frazier’s infield single.
Pittsburgh had gone in front in the eighth as Jason Martin scored on Jarlin Garcia’s wild pitch with two outs and the bases loaded. Martin injured his left arm when Garcia fell on top of him in a play at the plate. The Pirates had no update on the rookie outfielder following the game.
Frazier led off the first inning with a home run, drove in three runs and had three of the Pirates’ four hits. Pittsburgh lost for just the third time in 11 games.
Miami All-Star Sandy Alcantara remained winless since June 21, a span of 12 starts, as he allowed four runs and three hits in seven-plus innings with seven strikeouts and four walks.
Pirates rookie right-hander Mitch Keller left the game in the second inning when he sustained a bruised right wrist when struck by Cooper’s line comebacker.
Considered the organization’s top prospect coming into the season, Keller retired all five batters he faced in his eighth major league start.
Keller was struck flush on the outer part of the wrist. The Pirates said initial imaging revealed only a bruise.
“It still hurts but right away the worst comes to mind. That it’s just a contusion and not broken is a relief,” said Keller, who had his hand in a brace after the game. “Everything was working really good and I felt it was going to be one of those games that was going to be really good for me and the team. So, getting hurt is really frustrating.”
Frazier’s two-run single to right field in the bottom of the fifth tied the game at 3-3. The Marlins had pulled ahead in the top of the inning on Cooper’s RBI double to deep center field.
After Frazier staked the Pirates to a quick lead, the Marlins moved ahead 2-1 in the third inning as a throwing error by third baseman Colin Moran on Cooper’s two-out grounder allowed two runs to score.
Frazier’s leadoff blast marked the fourth time in five games the Pirates started a game with a home run. The second baseman had one and SS Kevin Newman hit two during a four-game sweep last weekend at Colorado.
LHP Brian Moran was called up by the Marlins from Triple-A New Orleans along with C Tyler Heineman and OF Magneuris Sierra. Moran is the older brother of Colin Moran and reached the major leagues for the first time after spending 10 years in the minors.
The Morans are nephews of longtime major leaguer B.J. Surhoff.
The Marlins designated C Wilkin Castillo for assignment and transferred 3B/OF Brian Anderson (fractured right hand) to the 60-day injured list from the 10-day IL to open spots on the 40-man roster.
NEW OLD PIRATE
LHP Wei-Chung Wang was added to the Pirates’ active roster three days after being claimed off waivers from the Oakland Athletics. The Pirates signed Wang from Taiwan as an amateur international free agent in 2011 then lost him two years later to the Milwaukee Brewers in the Rule 5 Draft
Martin was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis as were RHP Yacksel Rios, C Steven Barron and INF Cole Tucker.
Marlins: RHP Robert Dugger (0-1, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to make his third major league start on Wednesday night in the middle game of the three-game series.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (7-6, 5.26) has won back-to-back starts, allowing three runs in 13 innings.