The Marlins won their second game in a row in walk-off fashion to take the series against the Dodgers with a 9-6 win Wednesday night.
1B Jesús Aguilar capped off the thriller with a three-run walk-off blast to left field that sent loanDepot Park into a frenzy. It’s the Marlins fourth win in their last five games, and it may just be enough to keep them in it heading into the All-Star break. Manager Don Mattingly said the team is starting to build some much needed momentum.
“We’ve kind of started to find a little bit of an identity on offense,” Mattingly said. “We’ve been coming up on the right side of things recently.”
Rookie LF Jesús Sánchez delivered what the Marlins thought would be the big hit off Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning to gave the Marlins the lead. Sánchez worked a full count before lining a single into left that scored Magneuris Sierra, giving him certainly the biggest hit of his career so far.
Sierra, pinch-running for Garrett Cooper, was toying with the Dodgers’ closer on the basepaths all inning. After a catcher’s interference sent him down to second, Sierra got to third on a delayed steal to set the Marlins up with the go-ahead run 90 feet away before scoring on Sánchez’s single.
Sánchez showed off his opposite field approach that has impressed fans since being up again tonight. He said it is what fans should expect from him going forward.
“Don’t get surprised by it,” Sanchez said. “I hit that way naturally.”
Rookie sensation Anthony Bender would enter looking to get his second save of the week. However, Bender let up a home run to Zach McKinstry that tied the game. Bender struck out all three of the other Dodgers he faced in what may have been the most dominant blown save I have ever seen.
Aguilar said it felt that much better to hit a walk off and pick his guy up after the blown save in the ninth. He wanted to send a message to his teammate.
“Those things are gonna happen and we got your back,” Aguilar said.
The fireworks started early when Garrett Cooper launched a 443-foot home run with two outs in the first. It was his eighth of the year for the red-hot Cooper and gave the Marlins an early 1-0 lead. According to Statcast, it had the longest projected distance of any batted ball at loanDepot park in 2021.
Sánchez would double that lead by adding a 434-foot blast to right-center in the second inning. After two innings, the Marlins had two hits and two runs, via two home runs. There had been no baserunners for either team in the game besides that.
Lefty Ross Detwiler started the game for the Marlins as they had to throw a bullpen game. It was the first time Detwiler had pitched since last Friday, when he threw three innings after Pablo López was ejected on the first pitch of the game. It was the first time Detwiler had gone more than two innings since 2019.
After retiring the first six he faced, Detwiler ran into major trouble in the third and was unable to finish the inning, allowing five runs on six hits—including three home runs.
After AJ Pollock led off the inning with a blast, Detwiler struck out the next two batters. He then proceeded to allow six consecutive batters to reach safely—a Betts home run, singles by Pujols and Muncy, a three-run blast by Turner, a double by Taylor, and then finally a walk to Bellinger that chased him. Jordan Holloway would enter to get the final out of the inning.
The first run not scored via the home run came when the Marlins manufactured a run in their half of the third. Jazz Chisholm Jr. led off the inning with a rocket single, then following a walk by Garrett Cooper, Jesús Aguilar ripped a double into the left field corner. Chisholm Jr. scored with ease to cut the lead to 5-3, but Cooper was thrown out trying to score from first to end the inning.
The Marlins would push another run across in the fifth after Jon Berti singled, stole a base, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Chisholm Jr. would drive him in with an RBI groundout to cut the Dodgers lead to 5-4.
Cooper would strike again in the sixth as he launched an opposite field home run to tie the game. This was the first multi-home run game of Cooper’s career and the fourth of the season for the Marlins, the first by a player not named Adam Duvall.
Holloway was the one to settle things for the Marlins retiring 13 of the 15 he faced after taking over with two outs in the third, striking out six and allowing no runs on just two hits and no walks. Holloway threw 42 of his 60 pitches for strikes, which is a huge for a guy that has struggled with command.
“It’s the key for him to keep the ball in the strike zone and get guys to swing the bat,” Mattingly said.
After the turmoil the Marlins bullpen has gone through since Friday, Holloway pitching that well for four and a third innings was an extremely welcome development. He said it was important to him to give those guys a breather and deliver for them after all they have been through.
“Everybody wants to do well for everybody else,” Holloway said.
The Marlins will go for a series sweep of the World champions on Thursday at 12:10 PM.
- Mookie Betts