Marlins look for first road win since July against Pirates

Field Level Media

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins have two of the worst records in the National League, and the hope of much upward mobility left the station some time ago.

Still, the clubs are heading in opposite directions going into their three-game series at PNC Park that starts Tuesday.

Pittsburgh is coming home after sweeping the Colorado Rockies in a four-game series and has won eight of 10 games, while Miami got swept in three weekend games at Washington and has lost 13 of 16.

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Pittsburgh in those four games got three quality starts, 37 runs and 63 hits, including at least two homers in each game.

"It was a very good baseball weekend for us. I had a lot of fun watching our guys have fun," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

"Now, enjoy the day off (Monday). ... You've got a chance catch your breath. We've got Miami coming to town and we look forward to try to build on some of the traction and momentum that we gained."

Of course, PNC Park isn't hitter-friendly Coors Field, but the Pirates will be facing a young Marlins team that is searching for some footing and confidence.

"By this sweep (by the Nationals), we are going to learn a lot and we are going to move forward, but we have to start playing better baseball," Miami's Miguel Rojas told MLB.com after he came off the injured list Sunday and was 0 for 4 with an error at shortstop.

In the three games, the Marlins gave up eight homers and 23 runs, and they struck out 36 times.

"I don't know, honestly, at this point, what we are gaining from getting swept," said manager Don Mattingly. "Hopefully, we are gaining information."

Compounding matters, Miami lugs a 15-game road losing streak to Pittsburgh, dating to July 24.

In the series opener, Miami right-hander Sandy Alcantara (4-12, 4.22 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh rookie right-hander Mitch Keller (1-3, 8.62 ERA).

Keller has made seven starts this season.

In his last home start, Keller went a career-high six innings and had a career-high nine strikeouts in a no-decision Aug. 23 against Cincinnati. He followed that up Wednesday with eight strikeouts in four innings against Philadelphia -- but he gave up eight runs and 11 hits.

Keller has not faced the Marlins.

Alcantara has a little more experience against Pittsburgh. He is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two games (one start).

In his past two overall starts, he has 15 strikeouts in 13 innings.

In August, he compiled a 3.03 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in five starts but was 0-2. His worst start of the month was his last one, Wednesday against Cincinnati, when he allowed four runs and six hits in six innings in spite of matching his season high with eight strikeouts.

In his three previous outings, Alcantara went at least seven innings.

"I think we've seen Sandy enough to know that he stays in games," Mattingly said. "He may have a rough inning here or there, but he seems to still end up not letting the game get too far out of hand on him. He has hung in there, for me."

--Field Level Media

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