By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Getty Images
MIAMI — Remember when it seemed manager Clint Hurdle never let one of his starting pitchers complete a game? Last night, there was a moment in the eighth inning when Ivan Nova left a curveball up in the zone and Marcell Ozuna, who had whiffed on curves in the second and fifth innings, whacked it to left-center for a leadoff single. Was Nova tiring? Was it time to yank him? Hurdle indicated it was an easy call to allow Nova to go the distance.
“(Felipe) Rivero was up in the eighth, just because it can happen in a hurry,” Hurdle said. “I wanted to make sure we were going to give (Nova) rope to pitch the (entire) game. We had a pitch count for him that he never got to. He never got near it. So, I just wanted to let him pitch. A couple of times earlier, he’d shown the ability to get right back. My goodness, three hits on the night? It was his night.”
Nova used a tidy 95 pitches to blank the Marlins. It’s his highest pitch count this season — which is impressive, because he’s worked at least six innings in every start — and the second-most he’s thrown in 16 starts with the Pirates.
>>> Behind the left field wall at Marlins Park is The Clevelander, a brassy nightclub that usually attracts a big postgame crowd, especially on weekends. The press box is windowless (because domed stadium), so the thump, thump, thump of dance music pours in as we write our game stories. The music always is loud, but last night it was drowned out by the cheering from a huge contingent of Pirates fans who watched the Penguins-Capitals game on TV.
>>> Joe Block likes to poke around on baseball-reference.com, and thank goodness because it saves us all a lot of time and energy.
#Pirates Ivan Nova's 12.1 pitches per inning would be lowest all-time (since records kept in 1988)
— Joe Block (@joe_block) April 30, 2017
>>> UPDATE 11:12 a.m. – The Marlins will hold a pregame ceremony today to honor Ichiro Suzuki for passing the 3,000-hit plateau. The event originally was scheduled for last September, but was postponed due to the death of pitcher Jose Fernandez.
>>> BREAKING 1:35 p.m. – The Pirates bought the contract of catcher John Bormann from High-A Bradenton and optioned outfielder Danny Ortiz to Triple-A Indianapolis. Bormann was en route by car from Bradenton as the game against the Marlins got under way. He was a 24th-round pick in 2015 and hit .231 in seven games with Bradenton.
The sudden addition of a backup catcher suggests an injury to starter Francisco Cervelli. The Pirates have not yet made any announcement about Cervelli’s status. Backup Chris Stewart started Sunday’s game against the Marlins.
Cervelli started each of the previous five games. On Saturday night, he moved slowly down the line on two grounders and a fly out. “If I am not bleeding, I am not going out,” Cervelli said. “Gotta keep playing.”
>>> Yinz want links? All right, all right, for cryin’ out loud. I’ve got links:
Pirates 4, Marlins 0: Nova, Nova, Nova, Nova, four straight walks, Nova, Nova, great infield defense, Nova, Nova.
Notebook: In which Freese is disabled, Ortiz makes his debut, the catchers give a bit more, and Taillon whiffs (and it was a good thing).
>>> Sunday: Pirates at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Alen Hanson 4, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63) 1
Marlins: Dee Gordon 4, Martin Prado 5, Christian Yelich 8, Giancarlo Stanton 9, Marcell Ozuna 7, A.J. Ellis 2, Miguel Rojas 6, RHP Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.14) 1
Gamecast: Koehler is 0-4 with a 5.14 ERA in five career starts vs. the Pirates. … Kuhl took his first career loss on Aug. 20, 2026, vs. the Marlins at PNC Park. He gave up three runs (two earned) in six innings. The big blow was a two-run homer by Xavier Scruggs. … Andrew McCutchen has reached base in 18 consecutive games. It’s the longest active streak in the NL and is tied for longest in the league this season. … Josh Bell has reached base in 13 straight games. … Last night, J.T. Realmuto had his eight-game hitting streak snapped. It was the Marlins’ second-longest this season, behind Dee Gordon’s nine-game binge from April 5-14.
>>> Monday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.60) Reds: LHP Amir Garrett (2-2, 5.09)
>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98) Reds: RHP Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25)
>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-0, 2.08) Reds: RHP Rookie Davis (0-1, 11.17)
>>> Thursday: Pirates at Reds, 12:35 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (3-2, 1.50) Reds: RHP Tim Adleman (0-1, 4.70)
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.