Miami, FL—Coming off a win versus the Philadelphia Phillies in the series finale, the Miami Marlins came back to sunny South Florida to host the defending World Series champions. Joining them for the first game back from the IL was Jon Berti and Brian Anderson. The Atlanta Braves, coming off two great wins against the Boston Red Sox, sent newly acquired Jake Odorizzi to the mound while Pablo López started for Miami.
In the first, Pablo hurled a 1-2-3 inning, but need 25 pitches to get through it. Odorizzi followed that up with a scoreless inning of his own that would have been flawless if it wasn't for a Berti single in his first at-bat since July 14.
After two quick outs in the top of the second, things got hairy. Eddie Rosario, the 2021 NLCS MVP, hit a line drive double over the head of Brian Anderson. Though threatening to take the lead, Pablo remained calm and executed his pitches to punch out former Marlin Marcell Ozuna.
Riding the momentum of the big strikeout, Brian Anderson stepped up to the plate. In a 2-2 count, BA took a pitch over the heart of the plate and sent a frozen rope into the Recess Sports Lounge in left field, as Marlins took the lead 1-0. The 112.0 mph exit velocity on the solo homer made it BA’s hardest-hit ball of the season.
Miguel Rojas drew a walk and advanced to third on a Lewin Díaz single to right field. With runners on the corners, Jacob Stallings decided to trade 2 for 1—he grounded into a double play but scored a run, putting the Marlins up 2-0.
In the top of the fourth inning, López got two quick outs and seemed like he was cruising. Getting ahead of Matt Olson in a 1-2 count, Jacob Stallings called for a high fastball. The fastball was high, but not high enough. Olson crushed it 411 feet to center field into the shrubbery. The Marlins still led, 2-1.
Jake Odorizzi got sent to the showers at the end of the fourth inning. Odorizzi finished his night after 4.0 IP, 8 H, 2 K, 1 BB, and 2 ER, continuing his struggles as a member of the Braves. The 10-year veteran Collin McHugh would come in relief to take over for Odorizzi.
In the top of the sixth, the Braves would get to Pablo yet again. A leadoff double by Michael Harris II followed by a fundamentally sound at-bat by Ronald Acuña Jr. gave Dansby Swanson the opportunity to hit with a man on third, with less than two outs. Not trying to do too much, the former first overall draft pick poked a shallow fly ball to JJ Bleday in center field. With Harris’ speed, he scored easily and tied the game at two apiece.
The very next batter, Austin Riley, turned around a changeup down the left field. With Braves’ left-handed-hitting slugger Matt Olson heading to the plate, Don Mattingly signaled to the pen for Steven Okert. Pablo had a great outing that was one out shy of a quality start. He went 5 2⁄3 innings allowing 4 hits and 2 runs. You could count the amount of mistakes he made on one hand as he did his job and gave his team a chance to win.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Marlins were threatening to take the lead back thanks to a Lewin Díaz walk and a Jacob Stallings single. Peyton Burdick, in his first home game as a big leaguer, did not come through—he struck out chasing a disappearing McHugh slider outside of the zone.
Collin McHugh punches out Peyton Burdick with a NASTY slider. pic.twitter.com/m8IIqKYMAQ— brent (@brentcosc1) August 13, 2022
Then with two outs, Joey Wendle rolled over to the second baseman. No cigar. Still tied.
Huascar Brazoban threw a scoreless 7th inning with some help from Joey Wendle. Following a single by Eddie Rosario, Ozuna smoked a ground ball to third base. Wendle left his feet, caught the ball, and whipped it over to Jon Berti for a 5-4-3 double play.
Jon Berti began the bottom of the seventh with a double down the left field line off of Tyler Matzek. However, he got thrown out by William Contreras attempting to steal third base to erase the Marlins’ momentum. Jesús Aguilar proceeded to walk and was pinch-ran for by Luke Williams. Williams stole second to put himself in scoring position. The rookie Bleday then struck out in the tough lefty-lefty matchup. Braves skipper Brian Snitker called for an intentional walk to Brian Anderson who had homered earlier in the game. This put all the pressure on Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas. Miggy couldn't get the job done as he flew out to the right fielder.
The Braves started off the 8th inning with a Vaughn Grissom double to left field off of newly-entered Elieser Hernandez. Following the double, Harris stepped up to the plate and demolished a 1-2 middle-middle fastball a long ways. Harris’ home run was hit at 111 MPH and it got out in a hurry.
Responding to that devastating setback, the Marlins strung a few hits together themselves. Another Stallings double (his third hit of the evening) followed by a Burdick double of his own made it a one-run game. Pinch-hitting for Wendle, Garrett Cooper struck out versus AJ Minter, who had just been entered into the game. Berti also failed to come through and the Marlins leave yet another man on the bases.
A scoreless ninth by Richard Bleier meant that it would only take one run to tie the game and two to win. But if the Marlins were to make a comeback, they would have to go through Kenley Jansen. Luke Williams led things off with a strikeout on Jansen’s famous cutter. Bleday drew a walk. Anderson, who was having a great game so far, fell victim to another Jansen cutter, swinging through it for strike three. A walk from Rojas put the Marlins’ fate in Lewin Díaz’s hands. He sent a lazy fly ball to Acuña in right field for the 27th out of the ballgame.
After all, baseball is about timely hitting, and the Marlins’ failure to hit in the clutch is what caused them to fall to the defending world series champions.