The Miami Marlins love playing at Marlins Park at home, and part of the reason why is the team's confounding walk-off magic in 2014. They whipped it out again against the Philadelphia Phillies today after the Fish initially seemed to have the game in hand. The bullpen faltered, then delivered just enough to let a truly improbable ninth inning occur.
Henderson Alvarez did enough to get the Fish a win. He shut out the Phillies through seven innings despite mediocre peripheral numbers on his end. Alvarez struck out just three batters and walked two alongside four hits. He never looked truly dominant, but he did get his primary game going. He forced 15 ground balls in 23 balls in play, and Miami's defense was up to the task this afternoon. Ed Lucas did make a throwing error during the game, but aside from that, the infield proved capable, and Alvarez even helped his own cause by starting a 1-6-3 double play in the game.
The offense did its job in support of Alvarez. After five scoreless inning by Cole Hamels, the Fish finally got to the lefty who has owned them a decent amount. In the sixth inning, Miami struck first when Ed Lucas doubled and Giancarlo Stanton delivered an RBI single to bring home the first run of the game. Then in the following inning, Hamels continued his problems. Jeff Baker, who played first base in place of Garrett Jones against the left-handed starter, singled and allowed Marcell Ozuna to do his business. Ozuna homered in his second straight game and put Miami up 3-0.
Mike Dunn threw the contest with a poor outing against the Phillies in the eighth. After a Chase Utley double put runners on second and third, a Ryan Howard sacrifice fly gave the Fish only a 3-1 edge but two outs in the inning. But Dunn could not escape despite being so close, as he allowed Marlon Byrd to tie up the game with a huge game-tying two-run shot.
But Miami had a magical ninth inning up their sleeve. Ozuna got on board, but Jake Diekman quickly picked up two outs. Of all people, Jeff Mathis singled to keep the inning alive. Then a fluke grounder that comes off the glove of Diekman and ricochets to third base leads to a bases loaded situation. Then Christian Yelich, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts during the game, delivered with a huge game-winning single to deliver another walk-off win.
The Milwaukee Brewers come to town tomorrow night for a three-game set after this Marlins series victory.
Hero of the Game: Henderson Alvarez (0.411 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Mike Dunn (-0.349 WPA)
Play of the Game: Christian Yelich singled to center field in the ninth inning. Marcell Ozuna scored the game-winning run (+0.351 WPA).