MIAMI (AP) – Andrew McCutchen had a big night to keep him on pace for a career-high in RBIs.
The All-Star outfielder homered and drove in four runs to help the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.
“This guy was the MVP,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “He’s a special talent.”
McCutchen has 85 RBIs this season and is on pace for his first year with 100 RBIs.
“I’m getting more opportunities than I have in the past, and being able to come through,” he said.
Pittsburgh (76-49) remains four games behind first-place St. Louis (80-45) in the NL Central.
Pirates starter Jeff Locke (7-8) pitched seven innings, allowing two runs and five hits. It was his longest outing since tossing 7 1-3 innings on July 19, at Milwaukee.
“You don’t really want to have any question marks in your rotation, especially at this point of the season and the way I’ve pitched I feel like I’ve been that for a little while,” Locke said. “To get a good outing under your belt gives me more confidence.”
Miami’s Chris Narveson (1-1) struggled in his first start since April 15, 2012, while with Milwaukee. He allowed seven runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings.
“I think I was a little amped up and trying to do a little too much and obviously left some balls up,” Narveson said. “They did what they were supposed to.”
Martin Prado homered for the Marlins.
McCutchen hit an RBI double in the first inning and helped spark a six-run second with a three-run homer, his 20th.
“Look at the batting average with runners in scoring position (.394),” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “Cutch is always looking to improve. You get guys on in front of him and that gives him more opportunities.”
McCutchen is 6 for 13 with three doubles, a home run, and six RBIs in the first three games of this series.
“He’s one of the best for a reason,” Narveson said.
Neil Walker’s double started the scoring in the second. Chris Stewart and Starling Marte each had RBI singles before McCutchen’s blast to left field as the Pirates sent 10 batters to the plate.
“It was good that we were able to get on the board early,” McCutchen said. “We’ve been looking for something like that.”
Pirates third baseman Aramis Ramirez made an impressive diving stop toward the foul line and threw from his knees to rob Miguel Rojas of a base hit in the eighth inning.
Miami relievers Erik Cordier and Scott McGough combined to pitch 5 1-3 scoreless innings allowing one hit and striking out six.
“The real highlight of the night was those two young kids coming out of the bullpen,” Jennings said.
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (14-7, 2.49 ERA) will start Thursday’s series finale. Cole will be looking for his first win since July 26 vs. Washington.
Marlins: LHP Justin Nicolino (2-1, 3.77 ERA) returns to the mound after allowing two runs in 7 2-3 innings in a no-decision against Philadelphia in his last start.
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