Three Marlins rookies went yard on Saturday night, contributing to a win that solidified the team’s fourth-place standing and keeps the pressure on the division-leading Braves.
- Elieser Hernandez—4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 29.0 CSW% (93 pitches)
- Charlie Morton—7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 36.3 CSW% (91 pitches)
Bryan De La Cruz’s days batting eighth in the Marlins lineup feel like a distant memory. Starting in the No. 3 spot in this contest against tough right-hander Charlie Morton, he singled sharply up the middle to plate Miami’s first run. Lewis Brinson made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.
That was Alvarez’s first dinger in the majors (17th career game). Thankfully, everybody involved recognized the significance of the milestone and quickly retrieved the ball for him.
Hernandez showed a lot of promise through four scoreless innings. His fastball velocity was peaking at 94 miles per hour and he reduced the speed of his changeup more so than in previous starts, creating an ideal differential between those pitches that upset the timing of the Braves’ batters.
The first sign of trouble was a deep fly to right off the bat of Ozzie Albies in the bottom of the fifth. Jesús Sánchez had room to catch it, but was powerless to prevent back-to-back-to-back run-scoring hits by Jorge Soler, Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley, respectively, disintegrating the Marlins’ lead.
Don Mattingly yanked Hernandez after a season-high 93 pitches. As a small consolation, it was his first homerless outing of 2021.
Inheriting a runner in a 3-3 ballgame, Zach Pop handled the high-leverage situation with aplomb. Dating back to July 22, he has now pitched in 14 consecutive games without allowing an earned run (ERA dropped from 5.73 to 3.99 during that span).
Zach Pop slider got d'Arnaud spinning off the screen pic.twitter.com/BpXOScHoUr— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 12, 2021
In the top of the eighth, De La Cruz and Sánchez put the Marlins back in front with solo homers against Richard Rodriguez. For all that DLC has accomplished since being traded to Miami, this was his first time reaching base safely four times in a game.
The Marlins tacked on their sixth and final run when Alvarez slid around Travis d’Arnaud’s tag (he was originally called out but it was overturned by replay).
Dylan Floro converted his 10th save. With 20 regular season games remaining, he has an outside shot of catching the since-traded Yimi García (15) for the Marlins team lead.
Jorge Alfaro, who had been playing through right knee soreness in recent weeks, exited the game early. He could be seen wincing after hitting a single in the top of the eighth, then noticeably slowed down midway between first and second on the following play. He returned to the Marlins dugout (slowly) under his own power.
Alfaro was diagnosed with left calf tightness, Mattingly said postgame.
Edward Cabrera and Max Fried are scheduled to match up in Sunday’s series finale at 1:20 p.m. ET. Odds are that Alex Jackson will be behind the plate, responsible for helping Cabrera rebound from the worst outing of his brief major league career.