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Marlins 7, Nationals 5; Offense bails out bullpen in extra-inning rollercoaster game

Marlins lifer Isaac Galloway with the highlight of his young MLB career, driving in the game-winning runs in the 10th.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Called it.

I figured “Road Chen” would be uncharacteristically effective (he was!), Don Mattingly would lean on his best relievers (he did!) and the Marlins would put forth a respectable offensive performance (they did!). And yet, they thrice blew leads to make this a nail-biter, finally pulling ahead for good in the 10th inning. Final score: 7-5. Losing streak over.

  • Wei-Yin Chen: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (83 pitches)
  • Jefry Rodríguez: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 3 K (77 pitches)

Shortstop JT Riddle fully emerged from his midseason slump with three hits, including a no-doubt home run to lead off the ninth. His success prompted an intentional walk that set up the Isaac Galloway game-winning single.

Derek Dietrich also gets style points for his solo blast to dead center. That gave the Marlins their initial lead in the second inning.

Chen’s lone mistake was serving up a two-run homer to Trea Turner in the bottom of the third. It landed just a couple rows out of the reach of Isaac Galloway, and you have to wonder whether it would’ve been a loud out at “unnecessarily big” Marlins Park.

Even so, the left-hander lowered his road earned run average to a slightly less hideous 9.35.

Instant replay had a significant impact on this game. Matt Wieters came off the bench to pinch hit in the bottom of the seventh with the potential tying runs on base. Down in the count to Tayron Guerrero, a successful challenge awarded him a hit by pitch on a slider that grazed his back foot.

The Nats scored two in the inning—on a wild pitch and soft single to center—to tie it up, 4-4.

With Kyle Barraclough still absent from the roster, the Marlins don’t have a clear-cut closer. Drew Steckenrider didn’t help his candidacy by allowing a leadoff home run to Adam Eaton in the ninth to cough up the lead Riddle gave him earlier in the inning.

Backup catcher Bryan Holaday continues to look like a shrewd minor league signing by the Fish. You know about his defense, but Saturday night was the latest example of the vet’s clutch pinch-hitting. His opposite-field single sparked the 10th-inning rally against Koda Glover.

The rubber game of this series kicks off at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday. José Ureña pitches on short rest after his HBP heard ‘round the world.

Attendance: 30,900