MIAMI – The Pittsburgh Pirates managed only one win against the team with the National League’s worst record.
They hope to fare better versus the team they’re chasing in the Central Division.
Gerrit Cole was outpitched Sunday in an all-rookie duel against Jose Fernandez, and Pittsburgh lost to the Miami Marlins, 3-2.
The Pirates went 1-2 in the series and 5-5 on a three-city trip, and they head home for a five-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals, who lead the NL Central with the best record in the majors.
“I think the Cardinal series has been on a lot of the fans’ dockets for some time now,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I anticipate seeing a very faithful Pirate crowd there (today).”
The Pirates have the second-best record in the NL, but they’ve lost 12 of their past 22 games, and Fernandez (7-5) wasn’t inclined to help them get going again.
The 20-year-old All-Star had a team rookie record 13 strikeouts, and allowed five hits and two runs in eight innings. He walked none and threw 97 pitches, 74 for strikes.
Cole (5-4) was nearly as good. He allowed three runs and struck out eight in seven innings, but Giancarlo Stanton put the Marlins ahead to stay in the sixth with his 13th home run.
“The home run was a bad pitch, and he deposited it like he should,” Cole said. “That pitch was really inexcusable there in a tie ballgame.”
Stanton also doubled, walked and scored twice for the Marlins, who had six hits.
Steve Cishek gave up a single and a walk in the ninth, but retired Garrett Jones on a grounder for the final out to earn his 22nd save in 24 chances.
Fernandez’s strikeout total broke the Marlins’ rookie record of 12 held by Josh Beckett. He struck out every player in the starting lineup, and he fanned the side in the third and fifth innings.
“This was kind of a statement game for him, where he knew he was going up against another solid pitcher, and he wanted to outdo him,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
Like Fernandez, Cole was a first-round draft pick in 2011. He has allowed less than four runs in all nine starts.
“He’s a great pitcher,” Fernandez said. “His stuff is good. I saw it hitting, and I didn’t like it.”
Ditto regarding Fernandez, Cole said.
“When you go up against a guy like him, you feed off each other,” Cole said. “He goes out and strikes out the side, and I’m going to out there and try to do the same thing. You love that competition and you want the best out of the other person. He was better today.”
Fernandez improved to 5-2 with a 1.87 ERA over his past 10 starts, and lowered his ERA for the season to 2.71. When his face was shown on the video board before the ninth inning, the crowd of 24,207 roared, and he waved his cap from the dugout.
“That was an impressive outing by him,” Hurdle said, “and an impressive outing for our guy.”
The Pirates scored their only runs in the second inning. Pedro Alvarez led off with a single and came home on Russell Martin’s double. Martin stole third and scored on a two-out single by Clint Barmes.
Miami made it 2-all in the fourth when Stanton walked, Logan Morrison singled, Ed Lucas singled home a run and Donovan Solano hit a sacrifice fly.
Pirates C Michael McKenry, who tweaked his left knee Saturday, was awaiting results of a doctor’s evaluation. C Russell Martin was back in the lineup after suffering a minor injury to his left knee Friday. … Pittsburgh RF Jose Tabata started after being held out of the starting lineup for three games because of a sore right forearm. … Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen was given a rest. He pinch-hit in the eighth and popped out.