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Phelps pitches the Marlins past the Pirates, 3-1.

Marlins inch closer to the wild card with second straight win in Pittsburgh

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight's 3-1 win has leapfrogged the Miami Marlins past the Pittsburgh Pirates in their pursuit for that final wild card spot, currently held by the St. Louis Cardinals.  Whereas last night's win was chaotic, tonight's win was more subdued yet just as important.  Early on both teams displayed good defense, but the Marlins broke this one open in the third when Andrew McCutchen bobbled a running catch in the outfield off a solid blast by Dee Gordon, scoring Miguel Rojas from second.

David Phelps struck out the side in the bottom of the third, which seemed to energize Xavier Scruggs.  The first baseman, recalled yesterday from New Orleans and making just his second Major League appearance in two years, smacked a two-out, two-run homer into the stands beyond left field in the fourth, his first career Major League home run.

In the eighth, Kyle Barraclough gave up a hit to Josh Harrison, his third of the night and which scored Jordy Mercer, but Fernando Rodney easily handled the ninth with two strikeouts for his 23rd save of the season.

The Marlins' offense accounted for six hits, Rojas leading the way with two, while the Pirates accounted for four hits and 14 strikeouts.  Pirates starter Chad Kuhl lasted six innings and surrendered two earned runs on five hits with no strikeouts.  Phelps lasted six as well, but engineered nine strikeouts, tying a career-high, and allowed only two hits and two walks.  In the midst of his surgical dismantling of the Pirates' lineup, Phelps even managed to line a single into right during the third.

Ichiro's double in the fourth was career hit 3,008, passing Al Kaline for 28th place all-time.

Tomorrow at 1:35, Jose Urena (1-4) battles Ryan Vogelsong (2-2).