The Miami Marlins have now authored five consecutive come-from-behind victories to begin 2020 Spring Training.
Today’s game didn’t start very encouragingly for Miami Marlins starter Pablo Lopez. Considered a near-lock for the team’s number three starter, Lopez didn’t make it through his scheduled two innings of work. In 1 2/3 frames, he surrendered four hits and hit two batsmen. He would have got out of it clean, as well.
With one out and the bases loaded in the second inning, Nolan Gorman hit a likely 3-6-1 double-play ball. Fielded cleanly by Jesus Aguilar and relayed to Miguel Rojas, Lopez couldn’t close the glove on it, allowing two runs on the play. Despite his issues, Lopez got 22-of-36 offerings over the plate.
In the Marlins half of the third, Francisco Cervelli collected the team’s first hit of the game, a one-out double to center field. Miguel Rojas followed with a single to put runners on the corners, then Jonathan Villar collected the RBI with a sacrifice bunt to halve the Cardinals lead.
The Cards got that run back in the bottom of the same inning off Marlins reliever Edward Cabrera. Harrison Bader was struck by a pitch with one out, then moved to third on a Yairo Munoz single to right field. Bader then scored on an Edmundo Sosa force out play to make it 3-1.
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Miami tied the game in the fifth inning, on a Rojas two-run homer, the Marlins first shot of the day. Later in the inning, they took the lead when Corey Dickerson brought home pinch-runner Gosuke Katoh on a sacrifice fly. But that wasn’t it either.
In the bottom of the inning, new Marlins reliever Adam Conley surrendered a run on a Munoz single, scoring Bader. Left in the game to pitch the sixth, Conley ended up giving up a total of three runs in 1 2/3 innings on seven hits. Braxton Garrett let the Cardinals add another run to the lead in the seventh, on a Gorman RBI-single.
That set the stage for the Marlins fifth come-from-behind win in five days this spring. Lewin Diaz opened the top of the eighth with his first home run of the year. After walks surrendered to Harold Ramirez and Magneuris Sierra, Chad Wallach gave Miami the lead with a three-run shot to left-center.
Alex Vesia came in to pitch a perfect ninth, striking out two and making a heads-up fielding play to earn the save.
Although the Miami outscored the Cardinals by an 8-7 final, St. Louis outhit them 14-to-11. The only player to collect multiple hits was Rojas, with the single and his home run. The trio of moon-shots gives the Marlins a major-league-leading nine for the spring, a far cry from their MLB-worst 146 last season.
It’s only spring, and they say don’t get too excited when your team does well. But these come-from-behind victories tell me that the next wave of Marlins call-ups will be ready, willing, and able to compete at baseball’s highest level.