Marlins starter Hector Alvarez's normally solid stuff let him down on Saturday, as his lack of pitch control helped him to a loss against the Giants. The tide of this game became very evident as the fourth inning wore on. Friday's offense-heavy game, ending at 10-14 in favor of the Giants, was followed by Saturday's 6-4 performance (though providing much less hits), setting up a fiery finish on Sunday.
Fundamentals in the Fourth
That fourth frame was something of a mess for the Marlins.
Alvarez, normally very solid in the way of controlled pitching, walked two batters in that inning.
After putting Belt on with one out, Buster Posey sent an Alvarez offering to centerfield, a single that put Belt in scoring position. And then the craziness ensued.
Hunter Pence, because he's Hunter Pence, came up to the plate with the sincere intention of swinging at nearly anything. Now, Pence is normally what some us would refer to as a "free swinger". Putting two men on, with one in scoring position, gave some reason to his conscience-free batting. You can imagine how giddy he must have been.
What followed was a strike out, naturally. Unfortunately for Miami, catcher Koyie Hill couldn't keep strike three in front of him. The pitch found itself behind the Marlins' bench catcher, allowing Pence to reach base safely.
Oh, we're not quite finished folks. So we've got the two walks and a batter making it to first after quickly striking out.
Now, next up is Pablo Sandoval. He ripped a hard shot to first baseman Logan Morrison, who had to extend himself to stop the grounder.
Alvarez seemed to miss his cue by just a bit, getting something of a late jump to cover first base. By the time he'd made his way over, Morrison had essentially made up his mind: It's on me, I've gotta beat Pablo to the bag!
Sandoval, with some slightly slightly speed, got to first on a head-first slide and extended the inning.
Matt Cain is facing down the Marlins best hitter in Giancarlo Stanton. It's a 2-2 count in the bottom of the sixth, when suddenly...
Cain sent a fastball that went inside on the righty Stanton, riding high and tight. The Marlins' slugger hit the deck. After regaining his composure and setting back up in the box, Stanton watched Cain miss his catcher's glove (positioned on the outer half).
Here's what happens when you miss against Giancarlo Stanton:
The most Stantonesque thing about that at-bat? When the errant fastball came at a dangerously close distance, and Stanton scurried to get out of the way, he looked like he might have swung at it...for a strike.