With hearts and minds understandably distracted by the events this time one year ago, the Marlins earned a hard fought victory against a Colorado Rockies club still battling to get to the post-season for the first time since 2009.
With the game delayed 30 minutes due to rain, both teams started out as cold as the ground they played on, at least offensively speaking. Things broke open in the fourth inning with the Marlins striking first. With Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour already aboard, JT Realmuto doubled to bring home Ozuna, 1-0 Fish. After Derek Dietrich reached, Miguel Rojas would continue his hot hitting September by stroking a bases-clearing double to stake the Marlins to a 4-0 lead.
In the Colorado fifth the Rockies would gain one back courtesy Charlie Blackmon doubling in Alexi Amarista, 4-1 Marlins. The Marlins would respond immediately in the sixth, with Rojas again doubling home Dietrich, 5-1 Fish.
The Rockies would creep back into things by scoring a run in the sixth off of Despaigne, and two in the seventh, one off of Brian Ellington and another off of Drew Steckenrider. Despaigne’s final line was six innings pitched, two runs off of seven hits, no walks and three strikeouts — another solid outing for a guy presumably auditioning for the long man/spot starter gig in 2018.
It wasn’t a perfect game offensively by any stretch of the imagination, with the Marlins coming up short a couple times late in the game. A particularly brutal sequence occurred in the seventh with the bags full of Fish and nobody out, all Tyler Moore, Dee Gordon, and Giancarlo Stanton could muster were consecutive weak infield ground balls.
Nevertheless, Kyle Barraclough strode to the mound in the ninth with the lead intact and, amazingly, an opportunity for his very first major league save (he had 28 saves in the minor leagues between various levels). Though he did issue a walk, Barraclough also struck out Carlos Gonzalez and induced a snap double play to end the game and secure that long-deserved MLB save. May it be the first of many for the Claw.
As terrible as the Marlins have been against teams in their own division, they were a MLB-best 18-11 against NL West teams coming into tonight. The Fish will continue trying to be a thorn in the side of their expansion brothers come tomorrow, when Jose Urena takes on Tyler Anderson at 8:40 eastern.
King Fish: Kyle Barraclough (.259)
Flounder: Charlie Blackmon (-.201)
Play of the game: Miguel Rojas bases-clearing double in the fourth (.157)