It took one 15-second play to suck all the air out of loanDepot Park Saturday.
Three at-bats after Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jake Fraley tied the game at 4-4 with an RBI single through the right side of the infield, right fielder Henry Ramos barreled a Sandy Alcantara changeup to the deepest part of the ballpark in center field. Center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. reached a top speed of 27 feet per second running towards the wall, which doubles as an LED advertising board. Not only did he not make the difficult play (the ball had a catch probability of 10 percent), but Chisholm banged his toes into the solid material at the bottom of the wall.
While Chisholm writhed on the floor, Jake Fraley ran home to give the Reds a 5-4 lead with two outs. Chisholm walked off the field with help of his outfield teammates, coaches, and trainers. In a span of a few seconds, the Miami lead was gone, and their center fielder—who had hit a solo home run just one inning prior to tie the game at 3-3—was out of the game.
“I saw a ball hit. It was a crucial part of the game,” said Chisholm, who was diagnosed with a right foot contusion. “So I just went all out, went after the ball. I wish I could at least come up with the ball and be hurt instead of not making a play.”
Chisholm said after the game he hopes to be ready to play in Sunday’s series finale, although Marlins manager Skip Schumaker would not confirm if he’d be available.
The Marlins entered that eighth inning up 4-3 thanks to a Peyton Burdick single that scored Jorge Soler from second base shortly after Chisholm’s game-tying home run. But, as has been a common theme for Miami the last couple of seasons, they played themselves out of more potential runs due to poor baserunning. Just after Soler crossed home plate, Bryan De La Cruz—running from first base—was thrown out at third for the final out. Had he not been thrown out, the Marlins would have had two runners on with Jean Segura at the plate.
“(That) can’t happen,” Schumaker said. “The ball is right in front of you. We’re honestly lucky that we scored that run. It was really really close there. … you just can’t make the last out at third with a big inning kind of rally. It kind of killed the momentum. So yeah, there’s not really an excuse for that.”
While the Marlins left runners on the board, Alcantara continued to struggle the fourth time through the lineup. After having retired seven straight following a three-run home run by Jake Fraley in the fifth inning, Sandy allowed two more runs in the eighth that began with a leadoff walk to Jonathan India, and was credited with a third run when Stuart Fairchild hit an RBI single against reliever Matt Barnes to give Cincinnati a 6-4 lead. Alcantara’s ERA has blown up to 4.91.
“I think he’d probably tell you that he wants that one pitch back to Fraley with that slider,” Schumaker said. “But other than that, Sandy pitched great. He was dominant as usual. I felt like he was cruising except for that one Fraley slider. I mean, I’d take Sandy out there in the eighth inning all day long again.”
Jake Fraley came into the series having only hit two home runs. This weekend, he is 4-for-8 with three home runs, eight RBI, and five runs.
The Marlins made one final stand in the bottom of the ninth. After Luis Arraez drove home Jorge Soler on a double down the right field line, Bryan De La Cruz and Jean Segura were walked to load the bases. With two out, Yuli Gurriel climbed into the box and began his crucial at-bat with a pitch clock violation to put him in a 0-1 hole. He struck out swinging on a slider outside by closer Alexis Diaz.
-Jesus Sanchez was removed due to right hamstring soreness after making a diving catch in the second inning, aggravating an injury he originally suffered on Wednesday in Arizona. Schumaker said they’ll know more about the severity of it on Sunday after Sanchez undergoes an MRI.
-loanDepot Park was celebrating Cuban Heritage Day, drawing an announced crowd of 11,170.
-The Marlins are now 12-1 in one-run games. They’ve lost six of the eight times that Alcantara has started this season.