Nova stars as Pirates beat Locke, Marlins 3-1
By ALAN SAUNDERS, Associated Press
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Elias Diaz is filling in quite nicely for injured catchers Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart.
Diaz drove in two runs, Ivan Nova pitched six shutout innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Jeff Locke and the Miami Marlins 3-1 on Sunday.
Diaz drove in Jose Osuna and David Freese with a double in the first inning. Diaz also singled and scored on Jordy Mercer’s single in the sixth inning.
Since Cervelli went on the disabled list Wednesday with a concussion, the 26-year-old Diaz is 7 for 14 with four RBIs.
“He’s got a hit in every game he’s started, eight of them,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s having a blast. Big hits. Swinging the bat aggressively. Two more hits. The big hit kind of loosens things up. And he’s done a nice job behind the plate.”
Nova also praised his defensive work.
“He’s a great catcher,” he said. “I told him right before the game, just call the game. I’m going to follow you. If I need to shake you off, I’m going to shake you off. I want you to do your job.”
Nova (6-4) allowed one hit, struck out four and walked none. He showed no ill effects from the left knee inflammation that bothered him in his previous start, but he threw only 77 pitches.
Hurdle said the decision to pull him early was offense-related and Nova said he was good to go longer if needed.
Locke (0-2) was charged with three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings in his first start in Pittsburgh since he signed with Miami in free agency. The left-hander spent the first six years of his career with the Pirates.
“I thought he was OK,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It ends up being three runs, but again I think another solid outing that keeps us in the game if we’re scoring any runs.”
Ichiro Suzuki hit his second homer for Miami in the eighth. The 43-year-old Suzuki last hit more than one homer in a season in 2013.
It was Suzuki’s 10th start of the year.
“I had to replace (Giancarlo) Stanton today, so maybe I should at least hit one,” he said.
Felipe Rivero got his second four-out save in as many days. He threw just 12 pitches.
Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen may be having a down year at the plate, but he is still a gifted athlete.
With the bases loaded and McCutchen on third in the sixth, pinch hitter John Jaso grounded to first base. Tyler Moore stepped on the bag and threw home in plenty of time to get McCutchen. Out of desperation, McCutchen jumped completely over catcher J.T. Realmuto and the plate in attempt to evade the tag. Realmuto was able to make the play.
“Luckily, I didn’t get hurt,” McCutchen said, laughing. “The throw was going to beat me and he was going to be there waiting. I was trying to make something out of nothing. I didn’t win.”
Marlins: Stanton did not start, but struck out pinch-hitting in the eighth inning. He suffered a right wrist contusion on Saturday when he was hit with a pitch.
Pirates: LHP Antonio Bastardo (left quad strain) made his sixth rehab appearance with Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday night and was charged with a run and two hits while recording two outs. He has a 4.26 ERA with Indianapolis.
Marlins: Return home for an off day Monday after a 3-4 road trip. They open a two-game series with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.
Pirates: Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.31 ERA) will make his first start since undergoing surgery to treat testicular cancer May 8 as the Pirates continue their homestand with a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.