The Marlins continue to prove that they are a much better team at home than on the road as they swept the Seattle Mariners on a beautiful Easter Sunday afternoon. The roof was open during a day game for the first time in Marlins Park history, and the crowd was treated to Miami’s first series sweep of 2014. The final score was 3-2 and featured an exciting, come-from-behind victory after an 8th inning Marlins rally and a suspenseful ninth inning.
After the Mariners jumped to a 2-0 lead after 4 innings the Marlins scored a single run in the 5th inning on a Donovan Solano RBI single scoring Garrett Jones. The real excitement began in the home half of the 8th inning when Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen gave up a leadoff double to Christian Yelich. After an out by Marcell Ozuna, Wilhelmsen intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton, then surrendered another walk to Casey McGehee to load the bases. Jones then hit a ground ball to first baseman Justin Smoak who tried to get Yelich in the force out at home. The home plate umpire originally called Yelich out, but Mike Redmond immediately ran out of the dugout looking to make his first challenge of the day. Upon further review, Yelich easily beat the throw home, and the Marlins had tied the game and still had the bases loaded.
With one out, Adeiny Hechavarria then came to the plate and was able to lift a fly ball to right that would score a tagging Giancarlo Stanton for the game winning run.
The Mariners wouldn’t go away though, as Corey Hart hit a leadoff double to begin the 9th inning off Marlins’ closer Steve Cishek. Cishek certainly didn’t have his best stuff on the day but he battled hard, was aided by a spectacular play by Hechavarria for the first out, and managed to strikeout Nick Franklin and the pinch-hitting Michael Saunders to strand runners at first and third base to end the game.
Kevin Slowey: B- (5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO)
Slowey pitched well on the day, but was removed after 5 innings for a pinch-hitter due to the game situation. He was never really in trouble and both runs that he surrendered were a result of leadoff doubles that the Mariners managed to play small ball and score. He was never in danger of giving up a big inning and certainly could have kept pitching had the Marlins needed him to. A solid day for Slowey.
Christian Yelich: C (1-4, 2B, 1 R, 2 SO)
Yelich got off to a slow start striking out his first two times to the plate. He would more than redeem himself though, coming through with a leadoff double in the 8th inning and scoring on a great hustle play to tie the game. If Yelich isn’t the one on third base in that situation, the Marlins likely don’t win this game. A beautiful slide coupled with his speed was the perfect recipe for the play. Oh yeah, extending his hitting streak to 14 games wasn’t too bad either.
Giancarlo Stanton: D (0-3, IBB, 1 R, 2 SO)
Stanton was far from his usual self today. Both of his strikeouts came on wild swings on slider’s off the plate. It has become obvious that opposing pitchers are only interested in throwing him fastballs in on the hands and off speed pitches off the plate outside. It is incumbent on Stanton to make the necessary adjustments. That being said, his reputation was enough to draw an intentional walk in the 8th inning and allowed him to score the winning run. He also had a couple of nice catches in right field, preventing the dreaded “F” grade.
Casey McGehee: B- (1-3, BB)
McGehee continues to provide the Marlins with a clutch bat that they were so desperately missing last year from the third base position. Casey has been the best offseason signing so far this young season. He has slotted into the cleanup spot and has provided Stanton with plenty of protection. It has seemed like every time they have tried to avoid Stanton, McGehee has made them pay. Today he had a big single in the 6th inning that almost led to a run and then a clutch walk in the 8th inning. Another aspect of McGehee’s game is that he seems to get better later in the game.
Arquimedes Caminero: A (1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 SO)
Caminero was again lights out when the Marlins needed him most. Coming into the game after the 6th inning when the Marlins came so close to tying the game but were unable to, Caminero shut the door when it seemed like the Mariners were pushing it open. He only struck out one but his stuff was just nasty. It was a great outing for Caminero.
Steve Cishek: B- (1 IP, 1 H, 1BB, 2 SO, Save)
This was a particularly impressive outing for Cishek, more for his tenacity than his actual pitches. He repeatedly had trouble locating his pitches and seemed to be flying open earlier than he normally would, however he battled and got the strikeouts when he desperately needed them. After allowing a leadoff double to Corey Hart, it seemed like his consecutive saves streak was all but done. Instead he managed to strike out two consecutive hitters with runner on the corners to get the job done. It wasn’t the prettiest save of his career, but it was good enough for his 32nd consecutive save streak extending his Marlins record.
Miami Marlins: B
Overall, the Marlins got the victory, which is the most important part. They struggled early on against some good Seattle pitching, but they kept getting chances and finally were able to capitalize in the 8th inning. It was a gritty victory, the kind that you can hang your hat on and are necessary to take the next step for a team looking to compete day in and day out. A solid sweep of the Mariners before heading to Atlanta.