In one of their most lifeless offensive efforts of the season, the Marlins didn’t advance a single runner into scoring position until the ninth inning on Sunday. They settled for a series split with the Braves by losing 4-0.
- Kevin Gausman: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (80 pitches)
- Pablo López: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 5 BB (2 IBB), 4 K (101 pitches)
López found himself in an immediate jam. True to form, rookie phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. reached base to lead off the game with a line-drive single. That was followed by a high fly ball off the bat of Ender Inciarte. Marlins coaches positioned Magneuris Sierra in the left-center gap and he couldn’t quite cover enough ground to get to the other side of the field. It bounced on the warning track and went out of play for a ground-rule double.
But the young right-hander impressively escaped the inning without a scratch. López held the runners in place on a comebacker to the mound, then induced a fly out that wasn’t deep enough for Acuña to tag up against. Charlie Culberson grounded out to end the threat.
Runners on 2nd & 3rd, no outs? No problem. pic.twitter.com/7xj1lom8rD— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 26, 2018
In an attempt to help his own cause, López interrupted Gausman’s no-hit bid with a single up the middle in the third inning. He looks legitimately more capable as a batter than Sierra does, so you wonder if Don Mattingly would consider dropping the speedy outfielder to the No. 9 spot in future starts (same applies for when Dan Straily pitches).
Both teams exchanged zeroes until the sixth. A leadoff walk to Nick Markakis came back to bite López when Tyler Flowers drove him home on a single through the left side. Mattingly brought in Javy Guerra to retire Acuña with the bases loaded and keep things interesting.
The best opportunity the Marlins would have to respond came in the bottom of that same frame. Finally into the Braves bullpen, Brian Anderson batted with the tying run on base and one out. Unfortunately, he was the victim of a Fieldin Culbreth blown call.
The deficit became unmanageable under the watch of Drew Rucinski in the eighth. He walked a struggling Ozzie Albies to load the bases for Acuña (again), then Miami’s defense failed to execute. First baseman Derek Dietrich botched a simple force play at home plate with this weak throw, which skipped past Bryan Holaday, allowing two runs to score.
A sacrifice fly to medium left field by Inciarte made it 4-0.
Four relievers combined to keep the Fish off the scoreboard.
The season series is over! The Braves annihilated Miami with a 14-5 record in their 19 meetings and a commanding 115-61 scoring advantage. It ties the most losses that the Marlins have ever had against their division rival in a single season.
Enjoy a relaxing off day. Brace yourself for an uncomfortable visit to Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.