The Miami Marlins were in a perfect position on Wednesday afternoon to salvage the series against the Chicago Cubs by winning the final game of the series after losing the first two. Miami had a 4-2 lead over the MLB’s best team, and they had All-Star closer A.J. Ramos come in to close the game. That was when disaster struck for the Marlins. Miami had not been able to record a single out when Dexter Fowler came to the plate with the bases loaded. Miami finally recorded an out when Fowler flied out to Giancarlo Stanton, but it was deep enough to bring Miguel Montero home, and the Cubs cut the Marlins lead to 4-3. Stanton bobbled the ball after catching it, which allowed Matt Szczur to advance to second base.
Ramos then struck out Kris Bryant, and then he decided to intentionally walk Anthony Rizzo, which brought Ben Zobrist to the plate with the bases loaded. Ramos walked him after five pitches, which tied the game at 4. Willson Contreras then stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, and he didn’t have to do anything. Ramos threw a wild pitch that went way behind Jeff Mathis, and that would do it, as the Marlins took a gut-wrenching 5-4 loss to the Cubs. Ramos had 33 pitches, with 23 of those being balls.
Miami was swept for only the third time this year, and with the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Cincinnati Reds, Miami is now a half game back of the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card. To add to the misery of Marlins fans, Miami entered the ninth inning with a 53-0 record when leading after eight innings. Christian Yelich got the scoring started in the first inning, when he doubled to left, scoring Dee Gordon. Chicago wouldn’t have a response until the sixth inning, when Contreras singled to center, which scored Rizzo and tied the game at one apiece.
In the seventh inning, Jeff Mathis homered to left, (and yes you are reading that correctly), which scored Derek Dietrich, and gave Miami the 3-1 advantage. Yelich then homered to right in the next inning, giving the Marlins a 4-1 lead. Fernando Rodney came in to pitch the eighth inning, and that didn’t go to smoothly either. Rodney would also throw a wild pitch, which scored Fowler, and cut the deficit to 4-2. Rodney escaped the eighth after allowing just one run, and then that disaster happened in the ninth.
Miami got a fantastic start out of Tom Koehler, as he struck out seven batters, and he allowed one run and five hits in 6.0 innings of work. John Lackey got the start for Chicago, and he struck out eight batters, while allowing three runs and seven hits in 7.0 innings pitched. Ichiro came in to pinch-hit, but remains stuck at 2,298 hits after failing to get a hit. Miami will have one day to lick their wounds before they return to action on Friday evening against the Colorado Rockies.
Hero of the Game: Matt Szczur (0.49)
Goat of the Game: A.J. Ramos (-0.92)
Play of the Game: Ben Zobrist walks, Javier Baez scores (.390)