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MIA 5, CHC 4: After Sandy’s 9th-Inning Blues, Fish Balk-Off in 14th

It took nearly four hours on Sunday for the Marlins to secure their long-awaited first May victory.

Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

If there were ever a game the 2023 Marlins needed to win just to feel good about themselves, Sunday’s series finale against the Chicago Cubs would have been that game.

It took them 14 innings, 229 minutes, and 105 total plate appearances, but Miami would walk away victorious 5-4 in their first win in exactly a week.

Having started the month of May 0-5, the Fish turned to their ace, Sandy Alcantara, in hopes of snapping the 5-game losing streak. He got some help thanks Yuli Gurriel’s third home run of the season. Jorge Soler gave Miami a much-needed insurance run with an RBI single in the 8th.

For the first 8 innings, Alcantara, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, looked like the Sandy of old, authoring goose eggs headed into the 9th.

Heading into the bottom of the 9th with a 2-0 lead, Alcantara commenced the quest for his second complete game shutout of the season with a 93 mph changeup to set Dansby Swanson down on strikes for a third time. What followed would be more of the narrative that has shaped Alcantara’s 2023 to this point.

The following hitter, Ian Happ, reached base on a 77 mph ground ball that skid past third baseman Jean Segura to put the tying run on 1st for Chicago. A slight concern considering the hit came on Alcantara’s 110th pitch of the outing, but comfort could be taken in the fact that Alcantara had induced 70 double plays since the start of 2019, the most in baseball over that span.

Manager Skip Schumaker would come out for a mound visit as Cody Bellinger loomed on deck. Whatever Skip said didn’t seem to work, however, as Bellinger doubled on a 1-0 pitch to draw deficit within 1. Out again came Schumaker.

The Marlins ace would stay in only to allow a game-tying single to Eric Hosmer on the next pitch. Alcantara’s final line: 8.1 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 9 K.

“[Hosmer is] a ground ball hitter,” said Schumaker postgame.

Miami’s first win in May would have to wait.

The Fish would quickly swim to another lead in the 10th, though, thanks to Joey Wendle—playing in his first game since April 2—who delivered his first hit of the season, an RBI triple to score Segura.

Yet, here came the Cubs again in the bottom half, as they’d tie it on Nico Hoerner single. On we went to the 11th.

After the two teams traded scoreless frames in the 11th and 12th, Miami would take their third lead of the game, this time courtesy of a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jazz Chisholm Jr.

But, as had been the case all game, Chicago would not go without a fight, as the patient zero to the Cubs’ rally, Ian Happ, drove in the tying-run to even the score at 4-4.

With inherited runner Garrett Hampson at third with one out in the 14th, Chicago reliever Adbert Alzolay—already in his 3rd inning of relief—balked in what would be the deciding run of the game.

Looking Ahead

Things won’t get easier for the Marlins, as they travel to Arizona to begin a three-game series against the Diamondbacks. Miami’s first assignment will be Zac Gallen (4-1, 2.53 ERA). The Fish will counter with Braxton Garrett, fresh off allowing a career-worst 11 earned runs to the Braves over 4 13 innings on May 3. First pitch from Chase Field is set for 9:40 Eastern.

Of Note

  • Alcantara’s outing Sunday put him in sole possession of second place in Marlins history with 26 appearances of at least 8 innings, surpassing A.J. Burnett. Only Dontrelle Willis (32) accomplished the feat more for the franchise.
  • At 229 minutes (3:49), this Marlins-Cubs contest was MLB’s second-longest in 2023.
  • Third baseman Jean Segura collected career hit 1,500 with a 5th inning single.
  • Now 11-0 in one-run games, the Marlins tied the 1972 Mets for most consecutive one-run victories to begin a season.
Miami Marlins (5) @ Chicago Cubs (4), Win Probability Graph, 7 May 2023 (14)