Philadelphia, PA—Riding a nine-game losing streak, the Marlins turned to their ace to stop the bleeding. Turns out they needed a tourniquet. Every bounce went the other way, every mistake was blasted, and every moment of hope was shredded...until one key moment in the ninth inning on a groundball hit by Joey Wendle.
Let’s rewind to the beginning and dissect what ended up being a wacky game.
After going down in order in the first and stranding two men in the second, the Marlins bats finally came to life for the first time in around a month. Lewin Diaz started the party with a leadoff cannon shot to right field for his second home run of the season. Jon Berti followed with a single to left field which set the table for Garrett Cooper.
Earlier on Thursday, Coop told us that he felt he has been trying to do too much in his at-bats since the All-Star break as he tried to live up to what an All-Star should be. Going into this series, he adopted a more “screw-it” approach, which has noticeably led to more hits. He hit the first of what would be two doubles on the night to drive home Berti and give the Marlins their second run.
Nick Maton gave the Phillies their first run with a home run to the same spot as Lewin’s, making it 3-1 in the third. Hoskins, Bohm, and Stott strung together a few base hits to tie the game in the fourth. Sandy likes drama. The Marlins retook the lead in the top of the fifth on Wendle's third home run of the season, and the game went to the bottom of the fifth with the Marlins on top, 4-3.
And that’s when the wildness began. After recording the first two outs of the inning, Kyle Schwarber sent a lazy fly ball to deep center field for JJ Bleday. And JJ dropped the ball, allowing Schwaber to reach second base. And as good teams do, the Phillies went for the jugular. A single and a triple scored two runs, catapulting the Phillies into the lead, 5-4.
Sandy was removed from the game after six innings, allowing eight hits, five runs (three of them earned), no walks, and striking out seven batters. Richard Bleier came in to pitch the seventh and threw up zeroes across the board. He also channeled his inner linebacker with a sliding tackle to get the first out of his outing.
Dylan Floro pitched a scoreless eighth inning and the game went to the ninth with the Marlins trailing 5-4. Cooper led off the inning with his second double of the night and was replaced with Bryan De La Cruz as the pinch runner at second.
Wendle came to the plate with one goal in mind: get DLC to third base no matter what. After the game, he said, “If there’s one thing I’m confident I could do, it is roll a ball over.”
And roll it over, he did, right at the first baseman Rhys Hoskins for a sacrifi...it went off Hoskins’ glove and rolled to the wall in foul ground! De La Cruz rounded third and came home to tie the game at 5. After a month of being unable to catch a single break, the Marlins finally got a bounce.
Avisaíl García, who had three hits to this point, drew a full count walk on a check swing, and Brian Anderson put the Marlins on top with a line drive single to right field. The Marlins led the game 6-5, heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Floro made his way back out to the mound to shut the door on what would end up being the Marlins' first win in their last ten games.
The relief on the faces of every single player in the clubhouse was visible. The joy of finally pulling out of a grueling losing skid—Miami’s longest since 2013—was wholly evident as the players cheered loudly as each playmaker entered the clubhouse while we spoke with Don Mattingly. It felt good to finally hear some music playing in the clubhouse.
Noah’s Notes and What’s Next:
- I’ll make this brief as my flight home is about to land.
- Avi García and Garrett Cooper are trending skyward.
- Joey Wendle showed his hometown how it’s done.
- Miguel Rojas and Richard Bleier are facing off in fantasy football this week, from what I gather amongst the trash talk in the clubhouse.
- The Mets come to town for a three-game weekend series.
- I am completely forgetting who the starters are and who is covering so just know that there will be pitchers on the mound and Fish Stripes personnel in the pressbox.
- Flight attendants please prepare for landing.
- Wait, wrong chat.
- Gtg, bye.