Miami Marlins fans found themselves in a similar situation on Friday evening at Marlins Park, when the Marlins battled the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of a three-game weekend series. Miami had the lead for most of the game, and they came so close to letting it all slip away. Fernando Rodney came out to close the ninth inning with Miami up 4-0. That lead changed as soon as the first batter stepped to the plate, as Yasmani Grandal homered to center, which cut the lead to 4-1.
Josh Reddick would single after the homer, and Joc Pederson would also single, meaning the Dodgers had two runners on with no outs. Manager Don Mattingly decided he had enough of Rodney, as he pulled him, and called on A.J. Ramos to close the game. Ramos was able to record two outs, but a defensive indifference after the second out meant that Los Angeles had two runners in scoring position. That was territory that Marlins fans knew all too well, but Ramos was able to get out of the jam, as he struck out Chase Utley, which gave the Marlins the 4-1 victory.
Miami got off to a quick start, as J.T. Realmuto homered to left in the first inning. In the next inning, Chris Johnson brought Jeff Francoeur home on an RBI single, which increased the Marlins lead to 2-0. Miami padded its lead in the fifth inning, after Christian Yelich scored Dee Gordon on a single, and after Ichiro was hit by a pitch, which scored Realmuto. Miami had a 4-0 lead, and that stayed the same until it was close to melting away in the ninth.
Tonight’s pitching matchup was a dream for lovers of pitching duels, as Clayton Kershaw made his return from a long absence, while Jose Fernandez took the mound for Miami. Fernandez pitched an absolute gem, as he fanned 14 batters for the fifth time this season, while allowing zero runs and three hits in seven innings pitched. Fernandez improved to 14-8 on the season, and he improved to 28-2 all-time when he pitches at Marlins Park.
Kershaw exited after only throwing 66 pitches, as he struck out five batters, while allowing two runs and five hits. Fernandez was credited with the win, while Kershaw took the loss. Ramos earned the save after he relieved Rodney in the ninth inning. Miami remains five games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card. Miami will look to take game two of the series tomorrow on Al Leiter bobble head night at 7:10 ET.
Hero of the Game: Jose Fernandez (.302)
Goat of the Game: Chase Utley (.-180)
Play of the Game: J.T. Realmuto homers to left (.107)