In a Marlins season that has already had many close finishes, Saturday’s extra-inning win over the Giants was perhaps the club’s most chaotic yet.
- Aaron Sanchez—4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (82 pitches)
- Sandy Alcantara—6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR (92 pitches)
It’s often true but applied even more so here than in any previous 2021 Marlins game: the final line doesn’t tell the full story.
Alcantara was dealing. Through six scoreless innings, he limited the Giants to strikeouts, grounders, pop-ups and very little else. He got ahead in counts by landing his breaking balls for strikes and overpowered the opposition with high fastballs. Through four starts, the 25-year-old is continuing to improve in a way that resembles former Marlins ace Josh Johnson.
However, he would ultimately have very little say in the outcome.
There was the deflating three-run home run that Richard Bleier surrendered to Austin Slater in the seventh, the rally in the bottom of the ninth—sparked by Jazz Chisholm Jr. and extended by Miguel Rojas, Jorge Alfaro and Starling Marte—Brandon Belt’s go-ahead double in the 10th against the typically lights-out Yimi García, then Jesús Aguilar’s incredible recovery to stop the bleeding.
...and of course, Alfaro’s encore with the Marlins down to their final out. Tough homecoming for Jarlin García!
Five of the first 14 Marlins games have been decided by a single run—only the Giants and Braves have experienced more nail-biters than that.
Zach Pop deserves a mention in this. He took the mound under similar circumstances as his previous LoanDepot Park appearance, with the Marlins trailing by a few runs in the top of the ninth. However, the right-hander’s execution this time around couldn’t have been more different. Instead of allowing a crooked number to put the game out of reach, he struck out the side (Brandon Crawford, Curt Casali and Slater) to keep hope very much alive.
A portion of Pop’s half-inning was unfortunately obscured on the Bally Sports Florida broadcast by technical difficulties. Broadcasters Paul Severino and Todds Hollandsworth could be heard normally, but in place of game footage, the network aired a montage of wildlife pictures from what I would assume was a computer’s screensaver.
Some more miscellaneous notes:
- Alfaro delivered the first walk-off double in Marlins history when trailing in extra innings, according to Doug Kern.
- Chisholm committed his first error of the year, but had an otherwise productive night. He is, simply put, one of the best players in baseball right now.
- With a 2-for-5 contribution, Aguilar extended his career-best hitting streak to 11 games.
At the end of the previous homestand, the fanbase’s opinion was evenly split on whether the Marlins could straighten themselves out and get themselves up to a .500 record. Congrats to the glass-half-full group.
OUR FAMILY >>>> pic.twitter.com/h5jS42rVd6— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) April 18, 2021
Sunday’s probable starting pitchers are Pablo López and Alex Wood (making his 2021 season debut) as the Marlins set their sights on a series sweep. First pitch at 1:10 p.m. ET.