Miami Marlins: An Unlikely Hero
The Miami Marlins were counting on another quality start from Jarlin Garcia against the Phillies on Tuesday night. Garcia wasn’t the only trick up Don Mattingly’s sleeve.
Defensive specialist Yadiel Rivera came into the ballgame for the Miami Marlins with two hits in 20 at bats this season. He rode the pine for nine and a half innings, then drove in the game winner in the bottom of the 10th.
Still only 23-years-old, Rivera is a four-year major league veteran, late of the Milwaukee Brewers. Tonight’s at bat was only his 103rd, and he had slashed .167/.198/.206 for his career to this point. After Cameron Maybin‘s one-out triple in the bottom of the 10th, reliever Yacksel Rios intentionally walked Miguel Rojas. Rivera pinch hit in the pitchers spot, replacing Junichi Tazawa.
Rivera stroked a sharp liner on a 1-1 pitch into center field, easily scoring Maybin on a walk off.
Phillies starter Zach Eflin retired the first 15 Marlins he faced, taking a perfect game into the sixth. While he was mowing them down, Garcia held the Phillies scoreless until the fifth inning. Rhys Hoskins, previous to his fifth-inning at bat mired in an 0-for-13 slump, doubled in Jorge Alfaro for a 1-0 Philadelphia lead.
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Rojas broke up Eflin’s perfect game with a double to lead off the sixth inning. Unfortunately for the Miami Marlins, a comedy of base running errors followed. Rojas was run down on Lewis Brinson‘s infield grounder, and tagged out on a 2-5-6-5 play. Brinson was then erased on a pickoff play for the second out. Justin Bour followed with his fifth homer of the season, a 405-foot shot to right-center field. It should have been a two- or even a three-run shot, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
What a Relief
Garcia finished his sixth inning with just the one blemish, raising his ERA to a robust 1.09 for the season. He struck out three and allowed one walk and five hits. He earned a 64 GameScore and got 50-of-80 pitches into the strike zone.
Nick Wittgren followed with a scoreless inning of relief, striking one out and allowing one hit. Drew Steckenrider pitched a perfect eighth, striking out the side by getting 10-of-13 pitches over the plate. It was Steckenrider’s third such inning this season, in 15 appearances. He has 21 K’s in 14 2/3 innings. Tayron Guerrero whiffed two more in a scoreless ninth, and now has 29 strikeouts in only 15 1/3 innings. That’s a K/9 rate just north of 17. It’s almost unreasonable. Junichi Tazawa loaded the bases but kept the Phillies off the board in the 10th.
Miami’s win clinched their third series win in a row. It was their fourth win in a row overall, and their sixth-of-seven. It seems a shame that only 5,844 showed up to watch them play.
Next: Why are these guys winning?
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