The Marlins needed a big seventh inning and a walk off homer from Christian Yelich to seal the win this afternoon by a score of 8-7.
The slugfest began with the first batter, as centerfielder Jackie Bradley homered off starter Kevin Slowey. Slowey continued to pound the strike zone, striking out the next two batters and inducing an inning-ending pop up. Slowey finished the game after three innings, collecting five Ks, two walks, and 3 runs on two hits.
The Marlins answered in the bottom of the first, manufacturing a run after a Juan Pierre leadoff single. Donovan Solano moved Pierre to second on a groundout, and after stealing third, Pierre scored on a Chris Valaika ground out.Slowey dug himself a hole after loading the bases with two walks and hitting Mike Napoli with a pitch. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored two runs on a two-out double. A Will Middlebrooks ground out ended the inning, and Slowey’s day.
26-year old righty Tom Koehler was roughed up for two runs in the fourth, giving up a home run to left fielder Mike Carp, and a one-out double to Jackie Bradley which scored Mitch Maier from second. Koehler would last one more inning, and finished with two runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and walks a piece.
After a scoreless sixth inning from lefty Zach Phillips and a slew of defensive substitutions, right-hander Jon Rauch was hit to the tune of a leadoff double by second baseman Brock Holt and a Will Middlebrooks home run, putting the score at 7-1, Boston.
Miami roared back in the bottom of the seventh, with help from Boston’s Rubby De La Rosa. De La Rosa issued two walks to start the inning, a single, another walk, a passed ball, and a Kevin Kouzmanoff double that put the score at 7-6. After two thirds of an inning, De La Rosa’s day was done. Right-hander Anthony Carter finished the inning with a strikeout.
Mike Dunn and Chris Hatcher put up identical one-hit, no runs innings. Dunn pitched the 8th, and Hatcher the ninth.Red Sox relieved Carter with Chris Carpenter for the ninth, and promptly sat down Matt Downs and Bryan Petersen. Down to their last out, Kouzmanoff singled to right. Yelich put away the game with a 2-run dinger to deep center field, giving the Marlins the 8-7 victory.
Justin Ruggiano started the game in center, but with late game heroics on top of his scorching spring break (batting .375/.487/.813 with 3 HRs this spring) one can’t help but wonder how soon we’ll see Yelich in a Marlins uniform more regularly.