With Edward Cabrera on the mound Saturday night making his 5th big league start, the Miami Marlins, who were trying to tie the series at one game apiece, fell due to both a feeble offense, and defensive blunders.
Cabrera surrendered a loud double to Ke’Bryan Hayes on the first pitch of the game, but recovered to turn it into quite possibly his best big league inning. After striking out Kevin Newman, a passed ball by rookie Nick Fortes and a wild pitch allowed Hayes to score. Cabrera went on to strike out the side with some impressive breaking stuff. The run was unearned.
Before the game, Mattingly was asked about Cabrera’s lack of strikeouts to begin his big league career, having only struck out 9 in 16 1⁄3 innings pitched. Mattingly said Edward reminds him a lot of Sandy Alcantara, who did not accumulate many strikeouts in the early stages of his career. In 2021, Alcantara is striking out almost a batter an inning.
Cabrera must have listened, as he went on to have the best strikeout game of his career.
Pitching well through three—albeit through some traffic—Cabrera was able to keep the Pirates at bay until the 4th. With two outs and runners on second and third, Cabrera made a perfect pitch to get Kevin Newman to pop up to shallow right. Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jesus Sanchez did not communicate on the play and collided, allowing the ball to drop. The “hit” (it was inexplicably scored that way) plated two runs, making it 3-0 Pittsburgh.
After avoiding further damage, Edward was pulled after 4 innings on 79 pitches. Aside from his debut, Cabrera has not made it past the 4th in any game. His final line was 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K.
Sean Guenther relieved Cabrera in the fifth inning and surrendered a two-run triple to Hoy Park with two outs, and the Pirates extended their lead to 5-0.
Nick Fortes, who was called up on Friday, started at catcher on Saturday for his Major League debut. In the bottom of the 5th, after a Lewin Díaz single, Fortes clobbered a 2-run home run to left, the first dinger of his big league career.
Fortes is the 8th Marlin to homer in his debut, and the first since Isan Díaz did it on August 5, 2019.
Paul Campbell, in his second inning of relief, gave up a RBI single to Cole Tucker in the top of the 7th. Tucker went 3-for-5 with an RBI.
In the top of the ninth with two on and two out, Lewis Brinson lifted a mile high pop-up on the center of the diamond. Ke’Bryan Hayes stumbled across the mound and the ball dropped, allowing a run to score making it 6-3 Pirates. Lewin Díaz, representing the tying run, struck out to end this one.
The Marlins fell to 62-86, good for 4th in the NL East, having gone an awful 1-5 against the NL Central cellar-dwelling Pirates this year. With a Braves win, the Marlins will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
They will try to avoid the sweep Sunday afternoon at loanDepot Park. Their ace, Sandy Alcantara, will get the start.