ATLANTA—With their ace on the mound, their three best relievers available, and their best hitter back in the lineup, Wednesday seemed like the perfect night for the Marlins to snap a three-game losing streak. Unfortunately, some bad luck and tough fielding allowed Atlanta to rally late and steal one from Miami, 6-4.
After his turn in the rotation was skipped due to right biceps tendinitis, Sandy Alcantara was back on the bump on Wednesday night. It was the first time that he’d gone 10-plus days between in-season appearances since his mother passed away in July 2021.
Alcantara had gotten off to an uneven start in 2023, going 1-2 with a 5.47 ERA, hardly the numbers of a reigning Cy Young Award winner. Early on Wednesday, he seemed to have regained his form. He stifled the Braves lineup through 5 shutout innings, averaging 89 mph exit velocities by Braves hitters. His fastball maxed at 99 mph, which was encouraging to see.
Sandy with a 1-2-3 first, highlighted by a couple of K's with the fastball. Looks good. pic.twitter.com/AHcwcYBYUA— Isaac Azout (@IsaacAzout) April 26, 2023
After sitting in the dugout for over 15 minutes during the top of the 6th, Sandy did not look the same in the bottom half. He immediately let up a 442-foot homer to Ronald Acuña Jr. to begin the frame, which left his bat at 115.1 mph. While recording a couple of outs, Sandy allowed a double to Austin Riley and a couple of walks to Eddie Rosario and Ozzie Albies, which loaded the bases. At that point, Skip had seen enough. He went to get his starter, and Alcantara was visibly upset.
“I’m sure he was (frustrated), yeah. Unless he goes nine, he’s frustrated, and that’s okay. You want guys to be pissed off that they’re coming out of the game” said manager Skip Schumaker postgame.
Huascar Brazoban came in looking to mitigate the situation, but Vaughn Grissom lined a single to left. One run scored, but Avi Garcia uncorked a 93 mph throw to nail Eddie Rosario at the plate, which kept Miami’s lead at 4-2.
Sandy’s final line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR.
Floro is human/Defense struggles
Entering the eighth inning on Wednesday, Dylan Floro had yet to give up an earned run in over 10 IP in 2023. That streak ended instantly as Matt Olson golfed one just over the right field wall for a home run, his seventh of the season. The ball had an expected batting average of .060.
Two batters later with a runner on first, Rosario grounded one to the right side that snuck past a diving Cooper into the right field corner. It would go as an RBI triple for Rosario, but Skip described it as a ball that Coop probably should have had.
“He’d probably tell you, he’d want it back. It’s not an easy play, it was a diving play, but he would probably tell you that he would like to have that over again.”
Vaughn Grissom followed with an RBI single that would give the Braves the lead. Following a mound visit, Marcell Ozuna hit a soft come backer to Floro who fielded it cleanly but threw it to the backstop, which allowed another run to score, extending Atlanta’s lead to 6-4.
Meltdown at Truist.— Isaac Azout (@IsaacAzout) April 27, 2023
Floro fields the comebacker but throws it to the backstop. Another run scores. That'll be it for Floro. pic.twitter.com/0c4SWkW5Pz
“I just didn’t re-grip it and the ball was already wet. I probably should have slowed down and probably underhanded it. I think I had more time that I thought after I kind of processed the play” said Floro.
Miami for three!
For the first time in 2023, the Marlins muscled up three times, and in three consecutive innings, in fact. In the top of the second, Jesus Sanchez, making just his ninth start of the season, cranked his first homer of the year over the Chop House.
Jesus Sanchez with an absolute BOMB. Over the Chop House. 437 feet. 111.1 mph off the bat. pic.twitter.com/m18ruMg28v— Isaac Azout (@IsaacAzout) April 26, 2023
Next inning, Jazz Chisholm Jr. went deep for the second night in a row and for the fifth time this year.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. has gone deep in back-to-back games.#Marlins up 2-0 in the third inning. pic.twitter.com/2e8mlL6eeb— Christina De Nicola (@CDeNicola13) April 26, 2023
In the top of the fourth, it was Avi Garcia’s turn, as he crushed one into the upper deck in left to extend Miami’s lead to 3-0. The ball traveled 428 feet and left his bat at 111.9 mph.
Miami wound up falling, 6-4. They’ve lost four straight and are now below .500 for the first time since April 12. They’re also now 0-13 when allowing 5 runs or more and 12-0 when holding their opponents to 4 runs or fewer.
wheeee! pic.twitter.com/dppKiZNJvP— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 27, 2023
Braxton Garrett will get the ball Thursday afternoon to help the team avoid a 4-game sweep. First pitch is scheduled for 12:20 and Kyle Wright is expected to start for Atlanta.