The Marlins knew that tonight would be a tough game for them. Facing the Red Sox lineup was one thing, but facing 2017 MLB strike out leader Chris Sale just added to height to the mountain they would have to climb.
Plus, José Ureña’s opening day meltdown start didn’t give Miami fans much confidence heading into his second outing tonight.
When the Red Sox struck in the first inning with an RBI single from J.D. Martinez to score Andrew Benintendi, things were looking as if they would go as anticipated. But Ureña stopped the bleeding right there, and settled into a groove.
His velocity was excellent: he routinely hit 97, with his fast ball. His movement and control were also far better than his last outing, and his slider was keeping hitters off balance.
One way that the Marlins could have a chance against Sale was to work the count and get him out of the game as soon as possible. Tough, extended at bats by Starlin Castro, Cameron Maybin and Miguel Rojas over the first few innings helped send a message that the Fish were here to fight, just as they have so far this season against tough competition.
In the bottom of the fourth they broke through. Justin Bour blooped an end-of-the-bat two strike hit landed just out of the reach of J.D Martinez in right field to score a hustling Brian Anderson from first. Bour cruised into second with a game-tying double.
In the top of the sixth, the the Red Sox were turned away after one out singles from Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez were negated by a 6-4-3 double play rolled into by the dangerous hitting Martinez.
Sale gave way to the bullpen after five, finishing with a line of 5 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 0 walks and 6 strikeouts after 93 pitches.
Meanwhile, Ureña continued to hold the Sox at bay. His night ended after tossing 109 pitches (72 strikes) over 7 innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk while striking out 7.
In case you thought you were seeing something, yes, Ureña’s line was better than Sale’s.
Let’s pause here. If you were to ask a Marlins fan if they would accept a 1-1 score after six innings given the pitching match-up, they would take that deal every time. So far, so good.
But this alone does not win the game.
From then on, the game morphed into a battle of bullpens.
In the top of the eighth, Drew Steckenrider gave up a lead off double to Jackie Bradley, Jr, who then advanced to third with one out. Eduardo Nunez hit a grounder to a drawn-in Starlin Castro who threw the ball to the first base side of home plate. Chad Wallach spun around just in time tag out Bradley and keep the game scoreless.
No run for you!!! Chad Wallach with a spin-o-rama tag on Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate to keep tonight's game tied at 1! Watch the @Marlins in action live on FOX Sports Florida and FOX Sports Go! #JuntosMiami #MLB pic.twitter.com/UMFKa9jecv— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) April 4, 2018
Three pitches later, Wallach nailed Nunez at second on an attempted steal. Terrific defense from the young catcher.
The game would go into extras.
In the top of the eleventh, Lewis Brinson made the catch of the season by robbing Mookie Betts of a lead off homer to keep the game tied. A truly spectacular display of athleticism from the rookie.
However, Odrisamer Despaigne would next give up a double to Eduardo Nunez, and then an RBI single to Andrew Benintendi to give the Red Sox the lead, 2-1.
Matt Barnes would come in and get the first two outs. But then walks to Brian Anderson and Justin Bour set up a double by veteran Cameron Maybin. Anderson scored easily, but the painfully slow-footed Bour was tagged out at home to extend the game into the twelfth.
This was the last real chance Miami had; in the top of the 13th, it was old friend Hanley Ramirez who hit a two-strike, two-out double off of an 84 mph slider from flame thrower Tayron Guerrero to score two and put the Red Sox up for good, 4-2.
The Marlins battled hard, and though they lost the two game set against Boston, they are proving they are no pushover.
What’s Next: After a day off on Wednesday, The Marlins go to Philadelphia and start a three game set against the Phillies.
José Ureña for matching Chris Sale pitch for pitch.
Tayron Guerrero for hanging a slider to the wrong batter.
The game winning double from Hanley in the 13th.
Welcome to the game six thread! Don’t forget to place your Icthyomancy picks!
Here is an excerpt regarding the prediction contest, in case you have no idea what we’re talking about:
Attendance is a big deal in Marlins baseball, like it or not. In each game, we will guess the attendance of the game, home or away, and the closest guess will be worth 2 points.
You can make your best prediction for game scores. A pass costs you nothing. Post your prediction of the score, and if it’s a direct hit (with the correct teams), that’s three points. If you pick the correct winner and by the actual number of runs, that’ll be two points. Predict which team wins, and that’s a single point.
These are our prop bets. You’re allowed to make up to two “outside the box” predictions for each contest. Points will be awarded based on the probability of something happening. If you’ve predicted something unfathomably rare (a no-hitter, pitcher hits two home runs, Justin Bour steals seven bases) and it comes true, that’s going to be a lot of points. Everyday things will be worth less. What the heck? The game is free - swing for the fences!
|BOSTON RED SOX||MIAMI MARLINS|
|Eduardo Nunez - 2B||Lewis Brinson - CF|
|Andrew Benintendi - LF||Derek Dietrich - LF|
|Hanley Ramirez - 1B||Starlin Castro - 2B|
|J.D. Martinez - RF||Brian Anderson - 3B|
|Xander Bogaerts - SS||Justin Bour - 1B|
|Rafael Devers - 3B||Cameron Maybin - RF|
|Christian Vazquez - C||Miguel Rojas - SS|
|Jackie Bradley - CF||Chad Wallach - C|
|Chris Sale - LHP||Jose Urena - RHP|
In what is technically a battle of aces, the Marlins number one starter, José Ureña is looking to bounce back from a rough opening day start where he hit three batters in the first inning alone, and gave up two home runs in the game. Urena is facing Cy Young candidate Chris Sale who dominated in his start, giving up only one hit while fanning nine Rays over six innings. The biggest question is whether the Marlins can scrape out enough runs while also having Ureña hold the Red Sox bats at bay.
How many innings will José Ureña last this time?