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ARI 8, MIA 7; Live by the long ball, die by the long ball

On the heels of a seven-game winning streak, the Marlins have now dropped four straight.

Anthony Bender #55 of the Miami Marlins reacts after allowing a home run to Pavin Smith #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks (not pictured) during the ninth inning at loanDepot park Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

MIAMI, Fla.—Frustrating: that’s the best way to describe the outcome of Wednesday’s game and the entire Diamondbacks series. Like the previous games in the series, Miami’s starting pitching left a lot to be desired. Unlike the previous games, the Marlins got on the board first and neither team could hold a lead.

But there was hope! Let’s go through it.

The first inning went the Marlins’ way with Jon Berti taking Madison Bumgarner deep in the first at bat in the bottom of the first. Three straight flyouts followed him and the Marlins had a 1-0 lead heading into the second.

The game was seemingly handed to the Marlins on a silver platter when Bumgarner was ejected by umpire Dan Bellino. The veteran lefty got tossed following a sticky substance check. It is not my place to comment on umpiring decisions and the like, but from what we’ve seen of the incident, MadBum was ejected without reason. (Major League Baseball later confirmed that the ejection was not related to foreign substances.)

Then Payton Henry briefly seized the spotlight. Can a backup catcher win a Gold Glove? (I know, I’m insane, just roll with it.) Payton made multiple excellent defensive plays around home plate to cut down runners trying to bunt or score. AND he got his first hit of the season to drive in a run in the bottom half of the second to put the Fish up 3-0!

That score would hold until the fourth inning, then the wheels fell off. A walk, cue-shot double, triple to the corner, infield single, and a home run combined to tack 5 runs onto Elieser Hernandez. The very first pitch he threw to a batter his third time through the Arizona order was sent over the center field wall. After getting the final out in the fourth, Lilo’s day was done.

Marlins starting pitchers in this series—Hernandez, Pablo López and Trevor Rogers—combined to allow 14 runs (13 of them earned) in 13 innings.

The D-backs extended their lead to 6-3 when they tacked on another run off Tanner Scott in the sixth inning. Scott’s run was unearned due to a misplayed ball by everyone’s favorite outfielder, Bryan De La Cruz. BUT, he made up for it by driving in two runs!

With two outs in the seventh inning, the Jon Berti show came back for Act II. He followed up his first-inning, leadoff home run with a two-out shot into the lounge in left! That seemed to light a fire under Jesús Aguilar. The accomplished run producer has mostly been settling for singles so far in 2022, but he cranked a pitch down the middle to make it back-to-back homers, bringing the Marlins back within one.

Henry and Aguilar put on a defensive clinic in the top of the eighth—Henry making a slick play on a sac bunt and Aguilar following that up with a game-changing catch and force double play!

Then the fun intensified in the bottom half of the frame. Brian Anderson and Jazz Chisholm Jr. had back-to-back one-out singles, and Miguel Rojas moved Andy to third on a flyout. So what does Bryan De La Cruz do? HE. HITS. THE. BALL. His single to the left side tied the game and moved Jazz to third for Payto...Oh no, pack it in boys: Avi García’s pinch-hitting!

Before García could squander this golden opportunity, Kenyan Middleton unleashed a wild pitch. THERE GOES JAZZ, AND THE MARLINS HAVE THE LEAD!

(I won’t say how García’s at-bat ended—you can make an educated guess on your own.)

So the Marlins had a 7-6 lead as Anthony Bender jogged out to the mound for the top half of the ninth inning.

  • First batter; strikeout looking
  • Second batter: uh oh...line drive single

And then, we were treated to the signature Anthony Bender lead-flipping home run, courtesy of South Florida’s own Pavin Smith. Devastating. Frustrating. All the adjectives!

When the pitching is great, the bats are silent, Marlins lose.

When the pitching is subpar, the bats are hot, bullpen lets it slip, Marlins lose.

Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference

Win Probability Chart - D-backs @ Marlins Baseball Savant

Something has to give and it has to give soon. Where is Max Meyer? Why can’t Avi García hit the ball? Why is Jon Berti so good? And one of these days can I PLEASE COVER A MARLINS WIN?!?! Just one?!?!

Now, as I get kicked out of the pressbox cause it’s way too late to be here, the Marlins are off to San Diego!