MIAMI, Fla. — Although the Miami Marlins were coming off of a sweep and facing a team that has dropped five in a row, they didn’t let their guard down on Friday evening at LoanDepot Park. The Milwaukee Brewers were up against Trevor Rogers for the second time in two weeks, but he still proved to be elusive.
Before the game, manager Don Mattingly told the media that facing the same pitcher and same team twice in such a short time span can be somewhat of a “cat-and-mouse game,” but he said he likes to “see what kind of adjustments everybody makes.”
Attack early at the plate
The Marlins came out attacking Friday night, scoring all six of their runs in the first four innings. Miguel Rojas singled and came around to score on a single by Adam Duvall in the first inning.
By the bottom of the third inning, Rogers had a cushion of run support courtesy of Marlins’ second baseman Isan Díaz who swatted his first career grand slam in the bottom of the third inning. Díaz jumped on the first pitch he saw from Brewers’ pitcher Patrick Weigel, sending it 401 feet to the greenery in centerfield. After the game when asked about his approach at the plate recently, Díaz said “capitalizing on that first pitch has really been a game-changer for me.” Teammate Miguel Rojas noted after the game that Díaz is having fun and “seems so comfortable” on the field.
GRAND SLAM DIAZ. #JUNTOSMIAMI pic.twitter.com/ZzKFVfjakI— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) May 8, 2021
The team’s final run was scored the following inning thanks to back-to-back doubles from Rojas and Jesús Aguilar.
Be competitive on the mound
Rogers was not as efficient Friday night against the Brewers as he has been this season, but he was effective enough to pass the ball off to the bullpen after five innings. He allowed just one run on four hits, but his night ended with his lowest strike percentage of the season.
Despite traffic on the basepaths in the third inning, Rogers recorded back-to-back strikeouts to escape unscathed. After Luis Urías dropped a bloop hit into shallow right field in the fourth inning, Rogers had to battle the next few at-bats. He took Billy McKinney to a full count and then allowed a walk. Then Pablo Reyes worked the count full before singling in Urías from second base.
The Marlins’ offensive surge in the first few innings allowed Rogers to not have to be perfect. Even with the high pitch count and bump in the fourth inning, Rogers pitched well enough to limit the damage to one run. The Marlins’ bullpen was fantastic from start to finish. Zach Pop pitched a clean sixth inning, recording one strikeout. Richard Bleier followed with a clean inning of his own, collecting back-to-back strikeouts. Adam Cimber closed out the final two innings, getting outs on soft contact and then working around a few baserunners in the top of the ninth inning to finish the game with a strikeout.
Rojas: Come home and take care of business.
The team’s leader, who’s on a hot streak of his own, said post-game that returning home after the long road trip helped serve as a reset for himself and the team. Rojas has collected multiple hits in each game this homestand, going 9-for-16 with five extra-base hits. “It’s great to come home and play good baseball,” he said.
The series continues Saturday night with game two at 6:10 pm.