It’s been a while since Marlins fans could say this, but…whip out the brooms because the Mariners got swept.
The Marlins had been in an ugly slump before the Mariners came to town. They had lost nine out of their last ten games, losing the series finale at home to the San Diego Padres, getting swept in away series against the Nationals and Phillies, and losing two out of three games in a home series once again to the Washington Nationals.
It wasn’t even a lack of bats that lead to this slump. The team was just inconsistent as a whole and each part of the team could be attributed to the losses. There were nights where the starting pitching was off, most notably Brad Hand’s two starts in relief of an injured Jacob Turner who is on the disabled list with a strained shoulder. Even Jose Fernandez had his off night, making a rare disappointing start, giving up six earned runs in the process, a career high. The there were the nights where the bullpen could not keep a tight game. And yes, there were also games where the bats lacked.
But that all changed this series.
The saying “home, sweet home” could actually apply to the Marlins, as they have won all nine of their games at Marlins Park. They dropped only two of seven in their first homestand, and had a strong series against the Nationals with exception of Hand’s start. And the Marlins were able to role all over the Mariners to complete the Marlins second homestand of the season.
Game 1: Marlins win 8-4
With hard-throwing Nathan Eovaldi on the mound, the Marlins were desperate for a win in order to avoid the start of another losing streak. Eovaldi did his part for most of the game, and the bats were going. But a costly error by Giancarlo Stanton in the second inning on a ball that took a bad hop led to the scoring of an inside the park home run with two total runs scored. Abraham Almonte was the star for the Mariners, as he had two hits that got into the center field gap that led to extra base hits, his first being a triple and the second a double, that led to the other two runs by the Mariners. Giancarlo Stanton made the first run for the Marlins in the first inning, bringing home Marcell Ozuna off a single. Casey McGehee then brought in Stanton off a single that turned into extra bases after a Seattle error. Ozuna then made a RBI of his own by bringing pitcher Nathan Eovaldi on a sac fly in the second inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then got things going for the Fish momentum wise with a solo shot to right field, which had given the Marlins a 4-2 lead.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the 9th when the real drama came.
Reed Johnson had come in to pinch-hit for Steve Cishek. Johnson was able to get on board safely with a single. Christian Yelich was able to get to first and move Johnson along with a bunt. Marcell Ozuna then laid down a bunt of his own. A throw was made to third and Johnson was called out. Manager Mike Redmond then called for a challenge of the play, and it was overturned because third baseman Kyle Seager could not complete the catch.
The most feared hitter in Major League Baseball was up to bat next.
With bases loaded, the Mariners had no choice but to pitch to Giancarlo. And he made them pay. On a 1-2 count, he smacked a ball to deep center field for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Fish the win, 8-4.
Game 2: Marlins Win 7-0
Everyone knows Henderson Alvarez has no-hit stuff in him. He threw one in the last game of the 2013 season in a wild finish. Well he was locked and loaded again in the second game of the series against the Mariners. Alvarez had a perfect game going into the sixth inning, until it was broken up by a first pitch single to Dustin Ackley. Alvarez was able to keep his composure still, and faced the minimum going into the ninth. Alvarez would go on to give up only one more hit, to former Florida Gator Mike Zunino, and pitched for a complete game shutout off of a mere 90 pitches.
On the offensive side of things, the Marlins were explosive.
Casey McGehee started the barrage with a single in the third inning that scored Christian Yelich from third. Another run was scored in the fourth inning on a passed ball by Mike Zunino that scored Adeiny Hechavarria. Henderson Alvarez then helped his own cause by scoring an RBI single that brought in Hechavarria. After a Christian Yelich walk, Marcell Ozuna belted a three run homer into the pool in the Marlins Park Clevelander section. Ozuna would come up with the final run of the game for the Marlins with a RBI single scoring Donovan Solano. The Marlins would win the game 7-0.
Game 3: Marlins Win 3-2
This would be another game where the new expanded replay was beneficial for the Miami Marlins. The Marlins fell behind early with a sac fly by Justin Smoak in the second inning that scored Corey Hart from 3rd. In the fourth, Dustin Ackley got a sac fly of his own that would bring home Robinson Cano. The game would stay 2-0 until Donovan Solano singled to right in the fifth, scoring Garrett Jones from second base.
The 8th inning would come to be a crucial inning for the Marlins. Christian Yelich started it off with a double to extend his hit streak to a career best 14 games. After a Marcell Ozuna fly out, Giancarlo Stanton would be intentionally walked. Casey McGehee would then get a walk of his own after a patient at bat. With the bases loaded, Garrett Jones hit a dribbler to first baseman Justin Smoak, who threw home to save a run, and got Christian Yelich out. It was evident that Yelich had beaten the throw, and Marlins manager Mike Redmond demanded a replay. The review showed that Yelich had clearly made it to the plate before the throw and the call was overturned, tying the game up at two with Adeiny Hechavarria up to bat with the bases loaded once again with one out. Hechavarria would fly out, but it was far enough to score Giancarlo, and the Marlins captured a 3-2 lead.
It was up to Steve Cishek to save the game in the top of the 9th. Things got shaky when he gave up a hit to Corey Hart, who was able to turn the hit into a double. Dustin Ackley then hit a sharp grounder to Adeiny Hechavarria, who was able to get the out. Pinch runner Brad Miller was able to advance to third. With apparent control problems, Steve Cishek gave up a walk to Justin Smoak, leaving runners on the corners for Nick Franklin. There would be nothing doing though for Franklin, as he struck out swinging. It was all up to Michael Saunders to tie, or potentially give the Mariners a chance to win the game. Still having problems locating the strike zone, Steve Cishek ran the count full. But Cishek was able to close out the game and earn the save by getting Saunders to chase a sinker striking out swinging. The Marlins would win the game from behind 3-2 and sweep the Mariners, giving the Marlins a record of 9-10
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