It was the longest game of the 2022 Marlins season and the highest-scoring one. It had the most baserunners and the most stolen bases. It would’ve been excruciating to lose for a Miami team that has already choked away several close contests. But they found a way to defeat the Braves on Saturday night, 9-7.
The action got started with the bang-bang of first-pitch home runs by both teams. In a nearly unprecedented sequence, Jazz Chisholm Jr. went yard against Ian Anderson and Ozzie Albies returned the favor in the bottom of the first inning of off Elieser Hernandez.
Neither starting pitcher was sharp in this matchup. Hernandez served up additional dingers to Alex Dickerson and Austin Riley, pushing his season total to a major league-worst six homers allowed.
Aside from Chisholm, Ian Anderson kept every other Marlin in the yard, but he was repeatedly pitching under stress. Miami ultimately racked up 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position, and actually came through in a few of them!
Avisaíl García delivered his best performance since joining the Fish. He drove in runs in the top of the fourth (groundout) and the fifth (single) when the game was still very much in doubt. He still needs to demonstrate an ability to elevate the ball, though.
There were lead changes in three consecutive half-innings (top sixth, bottom sixth and top seventh). Pinch-hitter Garrett Cooper put the Marlins ahead for good with a two-run single against Spencer Strider. Cooper is now batting an even .500 (8-for-16) with a .938 slugging percentage in his career when stepping to the plate with the bases loaded.
Within an hour of the game start time, the Marlins scratched Miguel Rojas from their lineup with flu-like symptoms. His fill-in, Jon Berti, seized the opportunity with three walks, two runs scored and one stellar defensive play.
Added to the Marlins starting lineup at the last minute, Jon Berti is making the most of it pic.twitter.com/ajnJcm88UG— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) April 24, 2022
Other than Shawn Armstrong, the Marlins bullpen was excellent. Steven Okert, Anthony Bass, Cole Sulser and Tanner Scott retired 11 of 12 batters faced. Scott went through the top of the Braves lineup in the ninth to convert the save (the second of his MLB career).
A few other miscellaneous notes:
- Chisholm joined Gary Sheffield (1995) as the only players in Marlins history to have at least eight total bases and two stolen bases in the same game. The huge performance raised his slugging percentage from .706 to .795, the highest mark in the majors.
- Poor Payton Henry remainless hitless on the season and was removed for Cooper in the seventh. That required Jacob Stallings to catch the final few frames, his 12th time behind the plate in 14 Marlins games—that’s a heavy workload.
- Jesús Aguilar had four hard-hit balls (exit velocity of 95 mph or higher). Encouraging sign despite his lousy results so far this year.
Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference
Jesús Luzardo and Bryce Elder are the probable starters for Sunday’s rubber game at 1:35 p.m. ET.