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MIA 7, HOU 4; Jazz, Aggy lift off twice each in Houston

The Marlins made a series-opening statement against arguably the best opponent they’ve faced all season.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. #2 of the Miami Marlins celebrates while rounding the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 10, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Marlins led the Astros from wire to wire on Friday to secure their fourth win in a row.

A team that has struggled with situational hitting at various points in 2022 took an unorthodox route to success, producing seven runs despite zero hits with runners in scoring position. Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jesús Aguilar combined for four homers.

Shades of his iconic 2021 long ball against Jacob deGrom, Chisholm took Luis García deep for a leadoff dinger on a fastball that was nearly four feet off the ground.

The other Marlins homers in this game came on pitches that at least bordered the strike zone. Chisholm bumped up his season total to 12, tying him with Jorge Soler for the Miami team lead. Aguilar pushed his career total past 100.

Opposing a full-strength Astros lineup, Pablo López frequently went to his bread-and-butter: changeups over the plate that dropped below the batters’ knees at the last instant. His other pitch types were used 46 total times for only eight called strikes and whiffs (a lousy 17.4 CSW%).

López operated with a 6-1 lead entering the bottom of the fifth. It seemed as if he would have enough guile to navigate through that frame. Unfortunately, he suffered a right wrist contusion (X-Rays came back negative) after taking a direct hit from a Michael Brantley line drive. Don Mattingly went to his bullpen from there.

There will ample opportunities for the Astros to rally, particularly in the sixth inning. Down 7-3, Alex Bregman stepped to the plate with the platoon advantage against Steven Okert representing the potential tying run, backed by a loud Minute Maid Park crowd. He initially got ahead in the count 3-0 before flying out to right. In stark contrast to the Marlins, the home team went 2-for-16(!) with runners in scoring position. The Astros had baserunners in every inning except the ninth.

Tanner Scott retired Yordan Álvarez, Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel in order to convert his fourth save of 2022. Scott has struck out nine of 17 batters faced since the start of June.

“He has solidified the end of the game for us,” Mattingly said, essentially confirming that the mustachioed lefty will be utilized in the closer’s role for the foreseeable future.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Dylan Floro has been on a scoreless streak dating back to May 14...and I don’t really understand how? His velocity hasn’t bounced back to pre-injury norms and his command is merely ordinary. Nonetheless, he is contributing.
  • Although Garrett Cooper was unable to extend his streak of multi-hit games, his on-base percentage ticked up to .389 thanks to a pair of walks. He exited in the eighth inning due to cramping, according to Mattingly, who brought in Willians Astudillo to finish the night at first base.
  • Dating back to last year, we now have a full-season sample of López performing like an awesome No. 2 starter.

  • Optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville on June 4, Elieser Hernandez started for the Jumbo Shrimp on Friday. He would theoretically be a call-up candidate for the Marlins on June 15 if López is unable to pitch that day as originally projected. However, that’s only possible if the corresponding move is to place López or another player on the injured list; otherwise, Hernandez is stuck down there until June 19.

Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference

Win Probability Chart - Marlins @ Astros Baseball Savant

Lefties Braxton Garrett and Framber Valdez will take the mound to start Saturday’s game. A Marlins bullpen that has been leaned on to pitch four-plus innings in back-to-back games could have another busy day ahead of them. First pitch at 4:10 p.m. ET.