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MIA 2, CIN 1: Marlins Powered By Pair of Jesús’s

Luzardo shines, Sanchez homers as Fish secure series win.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo (44) delivers a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at loanDepot Park. Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

For those of us who’ve seen the first thirty minutes of David S. Ward’s 1989 sports-comedy “Major Leauge,” the story of Charlie Sheen’s portrayal of Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn is firmly etched in our pop culture memory bank.

Vaughn, renowned for his big, albeit, directionless stuff, seemed to put it all together after donning a pair of prescription glasses.

And for those who bore witness to Jesús Luzardo Sunday, the reference to Vaughn is an apt one.

Making his 6th start in a Marlins’ uniform, the left-hander, this time wearing a pair of shades of his own, the promise that fans and many talent evaluators across the sport had previously bestowed upon him began to manifest Sunday, as Luzardo pitched 6 scoreless innings in Miami’s 2-1 win over the Reds.

Following a leadoff double to Cincinnati second baseman Jonathan India in the first inning, Luzardo would go into cruise control, retiring the next 14 hitters consecutively.

The left-hander, who the team acquired from Oakland in exchange for Starling Marte, generated 15 swings and misses - 7 on the changeup and 8 on the curveball - and finished with 8 strikeouts, all while walking only 1.

Sunday also represented Luzardo’s first start with veteran catcher Sandy Leon behind the plate. Luzardo had previously worked with recently acquired Alex Jackson since coming over from Oakland, pitching to a 9.67 ERA over those 5 starts.

Offensively, Miami got all they would need in the first inning, thanks to another Jesús, right fielder Jesús Sanchez, who hit his second home run in as many days with a first-inning blast to put the Marlins out in front 2-0.

“He a chance to be a monster,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly.

Following Luzardo’s hit-by-pitch of Joey Votto in the top of the 7th, Anthony Bender would enter and author two scoreless frames of his own, again putting his season ERA below 3 at 2.94.

Come the top of the 9th inning, and with Dylan Floro, the Reds would claw back, as an India walk, Tyler Stephenson single, and Votto sacrifice fly cut the deficit to 1. Floro would eventually recover to strike out Kyle Farmer to end the ballgame.

Monday presents the Marlins with another off day as they travel to Flushing to commence a previously suspended April 11th game against the New York Mets to begin a three-game series.

Of note:

  • Recent one-run magic? Having started the season struggling to win games to decided by one run, Miami has quietly won their last three decisions in games of this nature. For the season, the Marlins are 14-23 in one-run affairs.
  • The Marlins pitching staff kept Joey Votto in check this past weekend, limiting the former MVP to a .111 average (1-9), striking him out 4 times.
  • Jazz Chisholm, primarily a second baseman, recorded his 12th error of the season at second base Sunday. Of his 20 errors in 2021, 8 have come in 27 scattered games played at shortstop. Chisholm’s 8 errors have him in a four-person tie - with Nick Ahmed, Eugenio Suárez, and Dansby Swanson - for 5th at the position in the National League.
Miami Marlins (2) v. Cincinnati Reds (1), Win Probability Chart, 29 August 2021