Later today, the Miami Marlins will begin their 12th season playing games at the stadium now known as loanDepot Park. The ballpark had seen plenty of extra-inning games over the years, but never in its history were more innings played than on this day five years ago.
In the end, it was Miguel Rojas who played the role of hero. His walk-off single in the 17th inning ultimately lifted the Marlins to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
After each scoring runs in the third inning, the Marlins and Cubs traded zeroes for 13 innings on March 30, 2018. Odrisamer Despaigne made it 14 for Miami when he worked a 1-2-3 top of the 17th. That opened the door for the Marlins to win the game in the bottom of the inning.
An 18th inning seemed inevitable as Chicago’s Eddie Butler retired the first two Miami hitters he faced in the inning on just three total pitches. The Marlins, however, were determined not to make things easy on Butler. Brian Anderson and Cameron Maybin came through with back-to-back singles, which ultimately set the stage for Rojas.
On a 1-0 pitch, Rojas lined it to center field. Chicago’s Ian Happ made a throw toward the plate, but it was late and offline as Anderson scored easily.
Kris Bryant’s solo home run accounted for all of the offense for the Cubs. The Marlins answered a half-inning later when Stalin Castro singled home Lewis Brinson to tie the game. Brinson finished 4-for-8 for Miami in the win. Seven Miami hurlers combined to throw 11 2⁄3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just four hits.
Throughout the course of the 2018 season, the Marlins played 15 games that went into extra innings. None went as many as the 17 played by Miami and Chicago in the second game of the season—still a park record. It came on this day five years ago.