In six seasons with the Miami Marlins, Derek Dietrich played in 608 games. Of those, 488 were starts.
His only walk-off hit with Miami came as a pinch hitter and it came on this day five years ago. Dietrich’s two-out triple in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Marlins to a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
With the contest tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth at Marlins Park on July 31, 2016, Adeiny Hechavarría represented the winning run after singling off St. Louis reliever Matt Bowman with two outs. To the plate came Dietrich.
After the first pitch was in for a strike, Dietrich lined one into the left-center field gap. As the ball began to sink, there seemed to be some indecision between outfielders Jeremy Hazelbaker in left and Tommy Pham in center. The ball fell between them and rolled to the wall. Hechavarría scored easily to give Miami the 5-4 victory.
As for Dietrich, he was forced to celebrate his first career walk-off hit without a shirt. It was taken from him by teammates who mauled him as he rounded third following the winning hit. Dietrich hit for closer AJ Ramos, who worked a scoreless ninth to pick up the win.
For Hechavarria, the late single and winning run served as a bit of atonement. On an RBI double by St. Louis’ Stephen Piscotty in the eighth, a throwing error by Hechavarría allowed the Cardinals to score a second run on the play and tie the game at four.
The Cardinals scored an unearned run in the second before drawing to within one on Greg Garcia’s solo home run off Andrew Cashner to lead off the third. Cashner was making his Miami debut after being acquired from the San Diego Padres. He allowed just an earned run on four hits in six innings.
Prior to Dietrich’s game-winner, Miami’s last run came in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single from Realmuto. Realmuto and Hechavarría each had two hits in the win.
The hero of the day, of course, was Dietrich—even if he left without a shirt. His heroics came on this day five years ago.