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The scorching-hot Marlins finally crack .500

Miami takes game two of the double-header against the Phillies 7-4, have now won 9 of 11.

MLB: Game Two-Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies
Sinnnnnnnnnnnging in the rain
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

What were you up to on April 27th of this year? Do you remember? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t; I certainly don’t. It was a non-descript, work-day Thursday, and the Fish were no exception to the mass of humanity trying to make a living. The Marlins went to work that day with the task of beating the Philadelphia Phillies. Unfortunately, they fell short, losing 3-2, and in the process their record became 10-10 in the young 2017 season.

No one realized it then, but that was the last point they’d be a .500 ball club, until tonight. A span of 144 days. Spring has come and gone, Summer soon to follow.

From 13 games under .500 back in late May to tonight, this injury-plagued Marlins team has scratched and clawed it’s way through inconsistent play and a rotation that was exactly that in every sense of the word, to become one of the hottest teams in baseball, and yes, a legitimate factor in the National League Wild Card race. Despite being written off by everyone several months ago and essentially writing themselves off by trading a couple of key players, here they are, standing tall today, 5.5 games back of a playoff spot with a month and some change to go. They should be proud, as a group. The coaching staff, the players, the organization, and yes, even the much-maligned, soon-to-be former ownership group. It’s been an astonishing turnaround.

There is still work to be done yet before the job is finished, but I’m far more confident in this team’s ability to see it through now then I was a month ago. I’m sure that I’m not alone in that sentiment.

Home runs were on the docket in the first game and the second turned out to be no exception. Five home runs in this contest, three from the Phillies which accounted for all four of their runs scored. It mattered not, though, as the Marlins continued crushing baseballs and jumped all over Phillies starting pitcher Nick Pivetta for six runs in one and a third’s innings, sending him packing having recorded a mere four outs. Marcell Ozuna had a two run blast for the Fish in the first inning and Christian Yelich had the big blow with a three run jack in the second.

Yelich ended up having a marvelous game. In addition to having driven in a run via a fielder’s choice in the first and the aforementioned jimmy jack, he would also rob Nick Williams of a two-run shot, keeping the game firmly in the Marlins’ hands.

Mike Aviles played tack-on in the seventh when he singled to drive in Derek Dietrich from second base.

On the pitching side of the ledger, Jose Urena gamely kept the Phillies off the scoreboard for the most part despite balls just flying out of the park left and right tonight. He would leave the game after five with the modest line of three runs given up off of five hits, two walks and five strikeouts, not his best game, but more then enough with the way the Marlins are swinging the bats these days.

Brian Ellington gave up a solo shot, but Kyle Barraclough pitched two beautiful innings before we hit the ninth.

Things got dicey for the Brad Ziegler save situation to close out the game and it’s not for the reason you think. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed as a system moved in quickly on the game, legitimately threatening to put a stop to it entirely. Waltz and Hollandsworth nervously updated us after each pitch, and indeed, the sheets of rain began falling — sideways — as Ziegler attempted to put the Phillies away. One strike away from finishing the game, an errant ball slipped from Ziegler’s hand and struck the batter Cesar Hernandez. With Maikel Franco already on third, the game was in jeopardy just as much from the Phillies now as it was from the rain. With that high drama as the backdrop, Ziegler managed to induce Pedro Florimon into a game-ending ground out. And that, my friends, is how the Marlins became a .500 ball club again.

I didn’t know Felo Ramírez, but I’d have to think that the hall of famer would be proud of what transpired on the field today.

Justin Nicolino vs Mark Leiter Jr. tomorrow, 7:05 ET start.

Courtesy of Fangraphs

King Fish: Marcell Ozuna (.140)

Flounder: Nick Pivetta (-.384)

Play of the game: Ozuna big fly in the first (.156)