After their first blowout loss of the season and an injury to starter Johnny Cueto, hope was in the air on Tuesday as manager Skip Schumaker turned to his ACE Sandy Alcantara to face the undefeated Minnesota Twins. It was the season's first edition of Sandy’s Beach.
Before the first pitch, Luis Arraez was presented with the AL Silver Slugger Award and Rod Carew Award (AL batting title) that he earned as a member of the Twins last season. Arraez was the first-ever recipient of the AL Silver Slugger for the utility position.
Luis Arraez receives his Silver Slugger award and Rod Carew Award alongside Bruce Sherman, Kim Ng, Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli, and hitting coach Rudy Hernandez. pic.twitter.com/M4lJusMJ5s— Daniel (@Drodyyy) April 4, 2023
Sandy came into tonight looking to “bounce back” from his four-walk outing on Opening Day. He did that by dominating the Twins lineup, even having a perfect game through 3 2⁄3 innings only to give up an infield single. Sandy would go on to give up only two other hits the rest of the way.
At the plate, the splash that gave Miami the early lead was an Avisail Garcia 388-foot home run (first of the year) off Kenta Maeda, who may have been tipping his pitches as noticed by Avi after his homer.
Aside from the lone home run, the Fish were anemic on offense. They were only able to produce three hits in the whole game, having to ride the back of their ace to get the win. Maeda struck out nine in only five innings before being pulled due to a potential injury scare.
The Marlins were able to secure their first stolen base of the year with a Jean Segura steal of second early in the game. That leaves Minnesota as the only team in the MLB to not have a stolen base.
A.J. Puk began warming up in the Marlins bullpen during the top of the ninth, just in case Sandy was in danger of letting the 1-0 lead slip away. Puk wasn’t needed as Sandy made Trevor Larnach hit into his signature ground ball double play to finish off the victory.
SANDY ALCANTARA COMPLETES THE SHUTOUT pic.twitter.com/wNgSiGgOx0— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) April 5, 2023
On his way to winning the NL Cy Young in 2022, Sandy threw six complete games, but only one shutout. This was his fourth career shutout and he totaled exactly 100 pitches to secure the much-needed win for the Fish vs Minnesota. If not for Sandy’s masterclass performance, Miami would currently be 1-5. He stepped against a previously undefeated opponent and showed why he is the best pitcher in the NL and entire major leagues.
The Marlins are back tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. to welcome back Pablo López, who is making his first start vs. the Marlins as a member of the Twins. He will face off against Team Venezuela teammate Jesús Luzardo in what will be one of the most anticipated matchups of the year for Miami.
I'm happy to make the return of my three stars of the night:
1- Sandy Alcantara (9 IP, 0 ER, 5 SO, 3 H , 1 BB, 100 Pitches)
2- Avisail Garcia (1-3, HR)
3- Time of the game (1 Hr 57 Min)