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MIA 7, CIN 6: Marlins Rally for Comeback Win, Split Series in Cincinnati

The Marlins had to go with an emergency bullpen game following Daniel Castano’s injury and did just enough to win.

Miami Marlins designated hitter Jesus Aguilar (99) reacts with third baseman Joey Wendle (18) after hitting a two-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning at Great American Ball Park. David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati, OH—Before we start, I just want to add a quick personal note...Despite the results and bad news we recently received, this week was a dream for me. For those who don’t know me, I’m about to enter my freshman year of college at Ohio University and am trying to get my feet wet in the sports media world. This week was my first chance to cover Major League Baseball, and it did not disappoint. Interviewing Marlins and Reds players along with reporting on news directly from the organization is a dream come true. Thank you to Fish Stripes, the Miami Marlins, and the Cincinnati Reds for making this happen.

Regarding Thursday’s game, the Marlins came into this one needing to win just to clinch a share of the series. They’ve alternated wins against very mediocre teams so far since the All-Star Break. That pattern continues with this comeback victory.

The Reds came out firing in the 1st inning for the third time this series. A Brandon Drury double set up Tommy Pham to drive him in on a double of his own. 1-0, Reds.

A very scary moment followed. Donovan Solano hit a liner with a 104 mph exit velocity that hit directly off Daniel Castano’s head. Castano walked off with no blood but was down hard on impact. The scariest moment I’ve seen at a game in my life.

Jeff Brigham was the first pitcher to come in for this emergency bullpen game. Castano’s final line was 0.2 IP, 2 H, ER, HBP, and 23 pitches.

The top of the 3rd was an eventful one for the Marlins, as Jacob Stallings hit a leadoff single to continue his hot series at the plate. In his first 8 plate appearances this series, he went 4-7 with a walk. Joey Wendle grounded into a fielder’s choice, which was followed by a Jesús Aguilar 2-run bomb out to right center. 2-1, Marlins. Quick lead change.

It was a nice first series back in the majors for Lewin Díaz, replacing the injured Garrett Cooper. He continued Miami’s momentum with a single into the shift. Díaz got to 2nd on a passed ball during Rojas’ at-bat, which concluded with a single out to right, driving in Díaz. 3-1, Marlins.

The bottom of the 4th was crucial for the Reds. They finally got to the Marlins bullpen. A Matt Reynolds single sparked a rally and Nick Senzel followed that up with a single of his own. Jeff Brigham got pulled after this, as his final line was 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 K, and 44 pitches.

Richard Bleier relieved Brigham, inheriting those runners left on. They both advanced on a wild pitch during Tyler Naquin’s at-bat. Naquin drove in one of them on a fielder’s choice to make the score 3-2, then Mark Kolozsvary doubled to drive in the other runner to tie it up.

In the bottom of the 5th, Tommy Pham got on via single. Joey Votto followed this up with a single of his own, which advanced Pham to 3rd. Solano’s single allowed Pham to score and send Votto to second. 4-3, Reds.

Bleier was pulled for Steven Okert, who finished the inning. Bleier’s final line was 1.0 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 WP, and 30 pitches.

Okert gave up a 1-out, solo home run to Tyler Naquin in the bottom of the 6th. 5-3, Reds.

The Marlins got their bats to wake up in the top of the 7th, as Jacob Stallings continued his great series with a 1-out double. Wendle grounded out next at-bat, but this advanced Stallings to third. Jesús Aguilar drove in Stallings on an RBI double. 5-4, Reds.

Graham Ashcraft’s day was done for the Reds, as Alexis Diaz came on to finish the 7th. The final line on Ashcraft was 6.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HR, and 100 pitches.

Anthony Bass came on to replace Steven Okert (final line: 1.2 IP, H, ER, K, HR, and 20 pitches). Bass performed about as well as he could, as he finished with a strikeout and 12 pitches thrown in the 7th.

Zach Pop replaced Bass in the bottom of the 8th. Great to see that the blister from Monday has healed enough for Pop to avoid the IL. He pitched a solid outing, striking one out on 10 total pitches in the inning.

Díaz did a solid job for Cincinnati once again, as his final line was 1.1 IP, 2 K, and 17 pitches.

Hunter Strickland came on for the save once again for the Reds, but it didn’t go so well this time. He gave up a pinch-hit home run to Jesús Sánchez to lead off the inning. Tied at 5.

The Marlins continued to get runners on. Luke Williams walked and Jacob Stallings was hit by a pitch, respectively. That left Miami with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Buck Farmer had to come on to replace Strickland after his blown save. Joey Wendle greeted him with an RBI double to take a 6-5 lead.

Aguilar hit a sacrifice fly next at-bat to drive in the pinch runner, Nick Fortes. 7-5, Marlins.

Tanner Scott came on for the save, allowed an RBI single to Pham, but finished his business.

That’s a wrap on this series, as the Marlins rallied to split this 4-game set with the Reds. What a comeback win for the Fish!

What’s Next?

The Marlins head back home for a 6-game homestand. They’ll face the Mets this weekend and the Reds again next week. Friday night’s game features a pitching matchup between the Mets’ Chris Bassitt and the NL Cy Young Award frontrunner, Sandy Alcantara.

First pitch is at 6:40 PM EST on Bally Sports Florida.