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PIT 4, MIA 5; Marlins beat Pirates after extra-inning chaos

How often do you see blown saves by both teams’ closers and a walk-off wild pitch?

Miami Marlins teammates celebrate defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates after Miami Marlins first baseman Jesus Aguilar (99) scored the walk off game winning run on a wild pitch by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher David Bednar (not pictured) at loanDepot park. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami, FL—Desperately in need of a win on Wednesday night, the Marlins sent right-hander Pablo López to the mound to make his 18th start of the season. The opposition was JT Brubaker and the 38-50 Pittsburgh Pirates. After multiple comebacks, Miami was able to walk it off and earn their 42nd win of the season.

Pre-game, manager Don Mattingly credited Pablo’s recent success to a slight change in mechanics. After another rough outing in June in St. Louis, he began pitching exclusively out of the stretch. With those adjustments came results, as his fastball velocity ticked up a couple miles per hour. “The DC start was really good, stuff really ticked back up. New York was a little out of sync but he was really able to compete; we loved it”, Mattingly said.

López got off to a fantastic start in this one, as he held the Pirates hitless through the first four innings while surrendering two walks. The Marlins, unfortunately, were also held scoreless.

Pirates top prospect Oneil Cruz led off the fifth inning with a walk and immediately stole second. He scored on a Ben Gamel RBI single, which gave the Pirates an early advantage for the third time this series. Gamel was thrown out trying to advance to second on the throw, and Pablo was able to limit the damage to one.

López pitched fine in this one by his standards, as he went 5 IP and allowed 1 ER, 1 H, and 4 BB on 83 pitches. In the process, he surpassed last season’s innings total.

JT Brubaker kept Miami scoreless through seven masterful innings. He allowed only three hits and two walks in those seven while striking out nine (99 pitches). He was helped out by his defense, as well as the absence of Garrett Cooper (left knee contusion).

Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass and Steven Okert combined for 3 shutout innings to keep the game competitive. An All-Star snub, in my opinion, Bass completed his 14th consecutive scoreless outing, which included 12 K’s and 1 BB.

The Marlins finally threatened in the 8th inning. After two were out, Joey Wendle was hit by a pitch and was pinch run for by Billy Hamilton. Jon Berti drew a walk, and then Jesús Aguilar was hit by a pitch. Avisaíl García was up with the chance to be the hero, and he came through with a single to center to score two and give Miami their first lead of the series. During what has been a lousy season for García overall, he certainly does have a tendency to drive in crucial runs in late-inning situations.

Tanner Scott came in to close things out but couldn’t do it. After he walked the first two batters, he allowed a booming double to Michael Chavis, which tied the game at 2-2, putting runners on second and third and still nobody out. That was Scott’s third blown save in the month of July.

Miraculously, Scott kept the game tied. Yerry De Los Santos worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth to send the game to extras.

Zach Pop entered to pitch the 10th and ran into trouble early. Jason Delay and Jake Marisnick each reached base on infield singles and Delay scored on an RBI groundout by Daniel Vogelbach. Ke’Bryan Hayes then singled to score another, which extended Pittsburgh’s lead to 4-2.

All-Star closer David Bednar came into the game to convert the save for Pittsburgh, and that’s when things got wild. After Miguel Rojas led the inning off with a single, Hamilton dropped down a perfect bunt but placed runner De La Cruz was caught in between and tagged out by Hayes. At that point, Marlins looked destined to fall.

However, the team kept fighting. Jon Berti came through with a substantial single to get the Marlins within a run and in an excellent position to tie things up yet again.

With runners on the corners, Jesús Aguilar did just that with a sharp single up the middle, scoring Hamilton and moving Berti to 3rd. The Pirates opted to walk pinch-hitter Luke Williams to load the bases intentionally. After Bednar retired Brian Anderson, the Pirates were one out away from taking this game to the 11th. That’s when Bednar uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Aguilar to score (barely).

Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference

Miami did just enough to put themselves in a position to salvage a split of this four-game series. Former Marlin Zach Thompson will take the ball for Pittsburgh and face Braxton Garrett Thursday afternoon (12:10 p.m. first pitch).