The first-place, 6-1 Miami Marlins—yes, the first-place, 6-1 Miami Marlins—extended their winning streak to five games Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles, completing a four-game sweep at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The final score, 8-7, represented nearly double the run production from the first three games of the series combined.
Originally, the Marlins were supposed to open their 30-game home portion of the shortened season vs. the Orioles at Marlins Park on July 27. Due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the organization, which saw 18 players get infected, the Marlins had a so-called “bye week,” but for all the wrong reasons. Major League Baseball determined that it would be safest and easiest logistically to resume their schedule in Baltimore rather than Miami.
Jordan Yamamoto, who was making his first start in 2020, opened with a promising sight: striking out back-to-back-to-back hitters in the opening inning after allowing a leadoff double.
Jordan Yamamoto doing what he does best: making hitters look silly chasing outside the strike zone pic.twitter.com/GYKwN5oGHc— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 6, 2020
The Marlins needed offense, as Yamamoto lasted just four innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits, including two solo home runs, too. Jonathan Villar’s first-pitch, leadoff solo shot in the first gave the Marlins a quick 1-0 lead, Brian Anderson’s two-out, two-run single in the third pushed the Marlins back in front, 4-3, Villar’s one-out, two-run single in the fourth broke a 4-4 tie, a half inning after Chance Sisco’s solo shot evened the contest and, most importantly, Jesús Aguilar, who finished 1-for-3, drove home Jon Berti with a game-clinching sacrifice fly in the seventh, after Berti moved to third due to a fielding error. Anderson’s second hit and third run driven in, an RBI triple in the seventh, was an important insurance run because Brandon Kintzler allowed a ninth-inning run, a run that would have knotted the game at seven apiece.
Thursday’s win moved Don Mattingly above Jack McKeon for the most victories as a manager in franchise history (282). Another milestone from the game: rookie outfielder Monte Harrison recorded his first career hit and stolen base.
The Marlins, who now own the highest winning percentage in all of baseball (.857), will open a three-game weekend series against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Before Thursday’s contest, Mattingly would not provide an answer as to who will start Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, but through seven games, Mattingly’s squad are quickly emerging as serious contenders.