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Castro’s two-run shot in 10th paves way for Marlins

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The Marlins have now now three consecutive series openers and four of six overall, thanks to their excellent starting pitching.

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Caleb Smith pitched six strong innings, and Starlin Castro’s crucial two-run homer off Hector Neris in the 10th paid dividends for the Marlins, opening a four-game set against their division rival Phillies with a 3-1 victory Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park.

  • Caleb Smith: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (102 pitches)
  • Aaron Nola: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (103 pitches)

Smith, in two starts against Philadelphia this season, has gone 12 innings of one-run baseball. All of Major League Baseball is bearing witness to an emerging ace who has command and swing-and-miss potential with each of his three pitches.

The Phillies rolled with Aaron Nola on the mound Thursday, who threw 6 23 innings, coughing up seven hits. It was arguably his finest outing of 2019, but all for naught. That’s because Miami’s bullpen stepped up—Tyler Kinley, Jose Quijada, Drew Steckenrider, Tayron Guerrero and Sergio Romo each contributed scoreless appearances.

Guerrero, in particular, looks much improved from his rookie campaign. You can see the confidence in his slider as a complementary weapon to his signature triple-digit heat continues to grow:

Castro’s game-winning homer in the 10th inning was his second hit of the contest, raising his overall batting average to .258.

Jorge Alfaro, making his first return to Philadelphia since being dealt for J.T. Realmuto, produced two hits in five plate appearances. Lewis Brinson snapped out of his week-long hitless streak and also laid down his first successful sacrifice bunt as a major leaguer.

The Marlins will look to take the first two games in this series Friday night, as José Ureña takes the ball for Miami. In his last start versus Washington, Ureña threw six innings of two-run ball, securing his first win of 2019. Philadelphia will send out Jerad Eickhoff, who took the loss at Colorado in his last outing.

Marlins vs. Phillies box score (MLB.com)

win probability chart
FanGraphs

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