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Marlins 5, Giants 4: An early contender for best inning of the year?!

Rookies and vets alike combine to score three in the ninth to stun the Giants.

Miami Marlins v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Almost leaves you speechless. Trailing throughout the game on Monday night, the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against Giants closer Hunter Strickland. Miguel Rojas delivered the decisive run-scoring single in an improbable 5-4 series-opening victory.

  • Caleb Smith: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (88 pitches)
  • Andrew Suárez: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (79 pitches)

Calling upon Drew Rucinski in the fifth inning is usually like waving the white flag. Don Mattingly had little choice considering Smith’s struggles to put away batters the first two times through San Francisco’s lineup. KKKKaleb even surrendered a home run to Pablo Sandoval, who hadn’t gone deep against a lefty all season.

However, Rucinski, Tayron Guerrero and Kyle Barraclough combined to contribute five hitless innings of relief. (Of course, that’s nothing new for Barraclough.)

Along the way, the Fish would come up with two valuable runs in the fifth inning against Suárez, trimming a 4-0 deficit to 4-2. A tad overaggressive after driving home Cameron Maybin and Lewis Brinson with a base hit, Rojas got caught attempting to stretch himself into scoring position. That would prevent them from threatening any further.

Even with the dangerous heart of the order due up in the ninth, a rally didn’t seem likely. The hard-throwing Strickland had converted 14-of-17 save opportunities in 2018 and was barely used during the Giants’ previous weekend series.

But things unraveled for him quickly. J.T. Realmuto followed Brian Anderson’s leadoff walk with a RBI double to the left-center gap. Justin Bour walked, Maybin moved Realmuto to third base on a force out, setting up Brinson. Well-deserved bat flip considering his solid two-strike approach. BRAND. NEW. BALLGAME.

With Tony Watson loosening in the home team’s bullpen, Rojas lined the game-winner to right field. Baserunning gaffe aside, it was a much-needed productive night at the plate for the veteran infielder.

Fish Stripes original GIF

Barraclough handled an uneventful bottom of the ninth. It extended his scoreless streak—dating all the way back to May 8!—and secured the first career MLB win for Guerrero.

With another game between these teams upcoming on Tuesday night (probable starters Dan Straily and Dereck Rodríguez), the Marlins have already clinched the season series. It’s no exaggeration to say that their dramatic comebacks are single-handedly spoiling this pseudo-contender’s playoff hopes.

Monday night’s was the best one yet. Hope you stayed up for it!

Win probability chart
Courtesy of FanGraphs

Attendance: 36,743

Please leave any Icthy picks in the comments below. Remember, we introduced a new grand prize for the contest this season!

Today's Lineups

Starlin Castro - 2B Gorkys Hernandez - CF
Brian Anderson - RF Brandon Belt - 1B
J.T. Realmuto - C Andrew McCutchen - RF
Justin Bour - 1B Buster Posey - C
Cameron Maybin - LF Mac Williamson - LF
Lewis Brinson - CF Joe Panik - 2B
Miguel Rojas - SS Pablo Sandoval - 3B
Yadiel Rivera - 3B Kelby Tomlinson - SS
Caleb Smith - LHP Andrew Suarez - LHP

6/18/18 Probable Starters

Name Team IP ERA FIP K/9 fWAR
Name Team IP ERA FIP K/9 fWAR
Caleb Smith Marlins 72.0 3.75 3.56 10.38 1.4
Andrew Suarez Giants 53.0 4.92 3.85 8.49 0.6

Matchup Summary

Certainly not the way that the Marlins wanted to celebrate Father’s Day. The Orioles jumped all over Trevor Richards early on Sunday and short-circuited a seventh-inning rally to salvage a game in the series.

That being said, fans ought to be encouraged by this recent stretch that’s seen the Marlins win five of seven games. The lineup suddenly has legitimate depth and Don Mattingly can’t screw up close games so easily considering all the hot options in his bullpen.

When these teams faced one another in Miami from June 11-14, every game was decided by a slim margin, including the marathon series finale that went 16 innings (the only Giants win).

Caleb Smith vs. Andrew Suarez is a rematch of last Wednesday when Suarez pitched five decent innings against his hometown team. Smith officially returned from the bereavement list earlier today after being away from the Marlins this past weekend.

Thread Question: The Royals just got a nice prospect haul in return for All-Star closer Kelvin Herrera. Do you think Kyle Barraclough has more or less trade value than Herrera?