It took 10 innings Saturday, but when the dust settled, the losing streak had reached 8. The Marlins would enter Sunday 24-33, not having won since May 26. What was once a +16 run differential had plummeted to -5 with the team dropping to cellar dwellers in the National League East.
So, when former Marlins’ 1st round draft pick Colin Moran delivered an RBI double in the bottom of the 1st following a 1-2-3 trip to the plate, it felt like more of the same would continue in this finale of a four-game set against the Pirates.
Luckily for Miami, Sandy Alcantara had other plans, and a brisk two hours and forty minutes after entering play Sunday, the Marlins 8 game losing streak would be snapped with a 3-1 victory.
“We felt like he was better suited for us than anyone out there at that point with the usage we’ve had out of our bullpen,” said manager Don Mattingly postgame.
The Marlins ace delivered 8 innings of 1 run ball, that of which would be unearned due to an error at hands of first baseman Jesús Aguilar. Alcantara struck 6 and walked 2, earning his 3rd win of the season. Alcantara has now allowed 2 runs or less in 9 of his 13 starts this season, upping his innings total to 79, good for 5th in the Majors.
Sandy Alcántara, Overpowering 3 Pitch K Sequence (all Fastballs). pic.twitter.com/XTA060ylpB— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 6, 2021
Whilst his defense may have hurt Miami early, Aguilar’s quick reset worked to the tune of a solo home run, his second in as many days, in the bottom of the 2nd. The pitch, an 89-mph slider off of Chad Kuhl, gave Aguilar his team-leading 12th home run of the season - all of which have come on the road - and tied the score at 1.
Kuhl and Alcantara would match each other pitch-for-pitch for the next 4 innings, with the two teams taking a 1-1 score into the top of the 6th.
A scary scene in the top of the 6th, though, as shortstop Jazz Chisholm would be hit in the ankle, drawing the concern of the training staff and manager Don Mattingly. Fortunately, Chisholm would remain in the game, taking his place at first base.
Speaking to reporters postgame, Mattingly reported no concern for injury, despite the infielder having recently missed time with a mild ankle sprain.
“He didn’t really come in for treatment,” quipped Mattingly. “They’ll patch it to keep the swelling down. As long as there was nothing broken, he was able to keep on going, which tells you that.”
Aguilar’s sacrifice fly would give the Fish the 3-1 lead they’d never relinquish. The first baseman’s 44 RBI pace the National League and rank 5th in the sport.
Following Alcantara would be Yimi García, himself having a rough week with 2 blown saves. The Marlins closer would pitch a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, snapping the 8-game skid and picking up his 10th save in the process.
Originally set to have an off day Monday, the Marlins will fly back to Boston to make up their recently rained out Sunday finale against the Red Sox. The game, a 5:10 Eastern start, is one of only 3 scheduled matchups around the Majors Monday. The Fish will turn to Pablo López