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MIA 8, PIT 1; Marlins bats break out to begin make-or-break road trip

A convincing win...for the Marlins?!

Miguel Rojas #11 of the Miami Marlins reacts after hitting an RBI double to left field in the fourth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 22, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Marlins home run helmet! Remember that thing? After nearly two weeks of gathering dust, I figured the team might have forgotten to pack it for this road trip. In the seventh inning of Friday’s game, Avisaíl García became the first Fish player since July 9 to earn a moment with the celebratory prop. García’s solo shot to right punctuated a desperately needed Marlins win over the Pirates.

For the second start in a row, Braxton Garrett obliterated a short-handed Bucs lineup. He followed up a career-best 77 Game Score last Thursday with an impressive 70 at PNC Park.

The first two batters that Garrett faced reached base on a walk and infield single, respectively. But the lefty K’d his way out of the inning with the game still locked in a scoreless tie.

Jason Delay hit his first career homer to left field in the bottom of the third to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. Garrett was perfect from that point forward, retiring each of the final 12 Pirates to come to the plate. All 10 of his whiffs were generated from his slider.

Garrett’s earned run average has dipped nearly a full run thanks to his back-to-back outstanding outings, from 4.33 to 3.42. On a night when Jesús Luzardo and Edward Cabrera impressed in minor league rehab stints, Garrett kept a firm hold on his rotation spot.

Former Marlin Zach Thompson had initial success, throwing up zeroes in the first, second and third. That extended Miami’s scoreless streak to 37 innings, matching a cringy franchise record set in 2013. Would a 1-0 lead be all he needed?!

Nope. The stars aligned in the top of the fourth. Miguel Rojas pulled a double to left that brought home Brian Anderson for the drought-busting run.

A wild pitch by Thompson plated another run. Nick Fortes (groundout) and Joey Wendle (single) gave the Marlins some breathing room, making it 4-1. Fortes sent his ex-teammate to the showers a couple innings later with a two-run single.

Steven Okert, Dylan Floro and Anthony Bass—each making their first appearances since the All-Star break—combined for three innings of stress-free relief.

Anything else?

  • The Marlins offense racked up eight runs on 13 hits, their highest totals in both categories since June 21.
  • Jorge Soler singled, snapping what had been an 0-for-15 slump since returning from the IL. However, he exited the game early due to “back stiffness,” according to Don Mattingly. Soler will undergo additional tests.
  • As highlighted on Marlins Jeopardy, Rojas hits far better on the road (102 wRC+) than he does at home (62 wRC+). The Marlins hope that trend holds true throughout the next week.
  • Fortes has scored just as many runs this season (18) as Jacob Stallings despite receiving only a fraction of Stallings’ playing time.
  • The Pirates posted their starting lineup mere minutes before first pitch while waiting to finalize a trade that sent Daniel Vogelbach to the Mets. They received right-hander Colin Holderman in return—maybe we’ll see him on the mound later in this series.
  • The Pirates have lost 12 straight Friday games. On all other days of the week combined, they’re close to a .500 team!

Don Mattingly’s Postgame Press Conference

Win Probability Chart - Marlins @ Pirates Baseball Savant

Max Meyer will make his second major league start on Saturday. I’m fairly confident in him outdoing his debut (5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR vs. Phillies). José Quintana, the graybeard of Pittsburgh’s rotation, will get things started at 7:05 p.m. ET.