After what could best be described as a recent barrage of strikeouts from Marlins’ ace Sandy Alcantara - 50 over his last 5 starts (37 IP) - the right-hander got it done another way in his 31st start of the season.
Pitching more to contact in Sunday’s 6-5 series finale win over the Pirates, Alcantara went 6+ innings, allowing 2 runs (1 earned), walking 1, and striking out 4. The right-hander has now pitched 6 or more innings in 25 of his 31 starts and has averaged 6.28 IP per start this season.
Sandy Alcántara, Stupid 93mph Back Up Slider thingy.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 19, 2021
10" of arm side break.
This pitch needs another name. pic.twitter.com/FpCX9XEYAw
Joe Panik, who entered play with an OPS+ of just 20 (league average being 100) since being acquired by the Marlins on June 29th, delivered a two-run double to put the Fish out in front in the 4th. Right fielder Jesús Sánchez would add the team’s third run the following inning with a double of his own.
The one unearned run came on an misplayed ball by Alcantara in the 2nd that got away from first baseman Lewin Diaz, allowing Cole Tucker to score. The right-hander would be charged with an error on the play, his 2nd of the inning and 4th of the season.
Unfortunately, for Alcantara, who entered Sunday in search of his 10th win of the season, of which would’ve been a career-first, the bullpen would chalk up the narrow 3-2 lead the former All-Star exited to.
Following a top of the 7th that saw Tucker score on an Anthony Alford triple followed by a walk to Hoy Park, Alcantara would exit to a 1st-and-3rd-no out siutation. Thanks to Anthony Bender, though, who induced an inning ending 1-6-3 double play, Alcantara would exit Sunday with a 3.05 ERA.
ANTHONY BENDER ESCAPES THE JAM!— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) September 19, 2021
Bender gets a shallow fly ball and then rolls the 1-6-3 double play to escape the inning and keep Sandy Alcantara in line for the win @Marlins | #JuntosMiami pic.twitter.com/o2fCOsnO6L
Entering the top of the 9th and with Dylan Floro set to close the game out, the aforementioned Park would have other plans, hitting a go-ahead two-run home run to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead, saddling Floro with his 6th blown save.
Prior to the Park homer, Floro had previously allowed just 1 home run - a solo shot off the bat Colorado’s Connor Joe on 08/08 - in 57 innings this season.
Following a pinch-hit walk from Nick Fortes, well-timed base running from Magneuris Sierra, and a game-tying single from the ever-growing praisable Bryan De La Cruz, the game would go into extras, only for Pittsburgh to retake the lead on a Ben Gamel sacrifice fly in the 10th.
With hindsight being 20-20 and 227 dogs eager to go home on Sunday’s Bark at the Park, Lewin Díaz, the de facto first baseman in the wake of Jesús Aguilar’s knee injury, sent Marlins’ fans home happy, sending an 89-mph Chad Kuhl slider over the right-field wall to seal the victory.
Lewin Diaz: Weekend Warrior. pic.twitter.com/tN0ID15hrg— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 19, 2021
“Consistent at-bats have my confidence is at an all-time high right now,” uttered a smiling Díaz, through an interpretor, after his first career walk-off home run.
- With the victory, Miami clinches their first sub-100 loss season since 2018. The Marlins finished that season 63-98 before losing 107 games the following season.
- The Marlins finish the season 2-5 against Pittsburgh. Miami last won a season-series against the Pirates in 2016 when they went 6-1.