The Marlins earned a critical win over the Braves Monday afternoon on the back of Miguel Rojas. From driving in the Marlins’ first run of the game to securing the final out, the Venezuelan shortstop showed how indispensable he is to the Fish during the extra-inning thriller.
- José Ureña—5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K (83 pitches)
- Ian Anderson—3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 4 K (83 pitches)
José Ureña was slated to start the third game of the Marlins regular season before testing positive for COVID-19. Six weeks later, the Dominican right-hander made his return to the active roster, replacing the recently injured Elieser Hernandez in the rotation.
It was an inauspicious beginning for Ureña. He fell behind 3-0 in the count against both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Dansby Swanson, ultimately walking both of them, putting notorious Marlin killer Freddie Freeman in a position to do damage. True to his track record, Freeman clobbered a two-run double.
Thankfully, rookie Jazz Chisholm initiated a 4-6-3 double play to keep both the deficit and Ureña’s pitch count in reasonable shape.
Taking his turn at bat during the top of the second inning, Chisholm tapped an innocuous ground ball in front of the plate (43.7 mph exit velocity, per Statcast). But fellow rookie Ian Anderson rushed the throw to first, past the outstretched glove of Freeman and into the outfield. Instead of finishing off the inning, that opened the door for Rojas to bring Chisholm home with a single to the left side. That’d be just one of Rojas’ four hits against the Braves in this contest, matching a career high.
Anderson never fully regained his poise after the error. Robbie Erlin took his place to begin the fourth.
Rojas greeted Erlin with a single and came around to score on a two-out hit by Starling Marte (who has thrived in two-out/RISP situations throughout his major league career). A couple pitches later, Jesús Aguilar gave Miami a 4-3 lead.
Ureña persevered through five innings despite shaky fastball command. Against left-handed batters, he repeatedly missed away. Against right-handed batters, he came too far inside.
With Acuña at the plate in the fourth representing the potential tying run, Ureña plunked him with a 95 mile-per-hour sinker that didn’t do much sinking.
After several tense moments, Aguilar trotted in from first base to help diffuse the situation. The umpires issued warnings to both teams, acknowledging the infamous 2018 incident involving this pitcher/batter matchup. Acuña wasn’t injured, but got picked off by Ureña later in the inning.
Overall, this was an encouraging day for the Marlins bullpen. Josh A. Smith worked a scoreless sixth. The Braves threatened against him in the bottom of the seventh, but the slick-fielding Rojas came to his rescue with a precise throw home.
With the bases loaded, Don Mattingly called upon James Hoyt, who vanquished the red-hot Marcell Ozuna using a filthy slider.
HOYT!!!! pic.twitter.com/BnEvZ10G9g— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 7, 2020
Brandon Kintzler was the only Miami relief arm who faltered, serving up a mammoth, game-tying solo homer to Adam Duvall. It’s the second blown save in as many days for the veteran right-hander.
Just like they did in St. Petersburg on Sunday, the Marlins pushed across a run in the top of the 10th. Rojas stroked a double to right-center off of A.J. Minter to easily bring Garrett Cooper in from third.
Nick Vincent put the Braves away from there, fittingly inducing a grounder to Rojas for the final out. Better him than Aguilar, who had to be moved across the diamond to third base for the first time this season in the aftermath of a Jon Berti hand injury (Mattingly said postgame that it isn’t believed to be serious).
4 hits, the game-winning double and great defense from Miguel Rojas...on his father's birthday pic.twitter.com/aBRnIVlxoq— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 7, 2020
Rookie sensation Sixto Sánchez takes the bump for the Fish on Tuesday. The Braves have decided on Kyle Wright as their starting pitcher. First pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Marlins vs. Braves box score