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MIA 2, STL 4; Same ol’ issues culminate in another close loss

The ice-cold Cardinals did just enough of the little things to beat the Fish in Monday’s series opener.

Adam Duvall #14 of the Miami Marlins slides into home base in the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

A Marlins team that was limited to 10 available position players on Monday, only three of whom have been at least average in the batter’s box this season, struggled to push across runs against the Cardinals. Shocking, I know!

Braxton Garrett took a baby step in the right direction, making the fourth start of his major league career. His average fastball velocity was a half-tick higher than it had been last week and he consistently spotted his signature curveball for strikes.

St. Louis rallied for a run against Garrett in the bottom of the second inning when Edmundo Sosa singled home the ageless Yadier Molina.

The Fish responded in the top of the third. Jon Berti kept the inning alive with a two-out single, followed by Starling Marte and Jesús Aguilar walks. Jazz Chisholm Jr. brought in Berti and Marte with a hit that got through the left side of the infield—not too shabby for a rookie batting in the cleanup spot for the first time in his career.

The Cards nearly erased that lead in the bottom of the frame. Fortunately, Dylan Carlson missed home plate and Jorge Alfaro applied the tag before Carlson could remedy that.

Marte was the one who fielded the ball in the left-center gap and made the initial throw, so he was credited with an outfield assist as a result. You won’t see that play on his lifetime highlight reel, but it did earn him a special place in Marlins history:

Similarly, Adam Duvall was called out—even after a long replay review—when umpire Larry Vanover ruled that he never touched the plate. Duvall insisted that he did when addressing the media postgame. Upholding the call on the field dropped Don Mattingly to a 11.8% success rate on challenges in 2021 (third-lowest in MLB).

Mattingly yanked Garrett with a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth, preferring to have Anthony Bender on the mound against the heart of the Cardinals order. Bender’s 98 mile-per-hour sinker was well-located, but good piece of hitting by Paul Goldschmidt to turn it into a game-tying single. Although Bender continues to sport a 0.00 earned run average through 16 23 innings at the big league level, he has now allowed four out of five inherited baserunners to score.

The contest remained knotted at 2-2 until the bottom of the eighth. The most productive Cardinals hitter this season, Tyler O’Neill, doubled off the left field fence versus Dylan Floro to put the home team in front for good.

Adam Wainwright had to settle for a no-decision, but he did pick up his 1,900th career strikeout—2,000 is potentially within reach by summer’s end if he can avoid any trips to the IL. Speaking of round numbers, Isan Díaz is up to 100 career strikeouts in only 91 games.

Díaz was representing the potential go-ahead run in the seventh inning when Molina caught him straying too far off first base. The Marlins collectively have been picked off 13 times, which easily leads the majors. By the way, reliever John Curtiss was pinch-hitting when that embarrassment happened which should tell you all you need to know about how limited Mattingly’s options were.

It’ll be the same start time (8:15 p.m. ET) for the second game of the series. Trevor Rogers gets the starting nod, as does fellow lefty Kwang Hyun Kim, who’s operating on 10 days’ rest after a brief stint on the injured list.

Win Probability Chart - Marlins @ Cardinals Baseball Savant

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