Marlins Rally Twice, Win Seesaw Battle with Diamondbacks

Jean Segura of the Marlins diving into third safely against the Diamondbacks
(Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images)

Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 2

MIAMI, Apr. 15 — Two rallies — one in the fifth to tie the game, the other in the seventh to take the lead — gave the Miami Marlins a 3–2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday afternoon in a seesaw battle. The big blows came off the bats of Garrett Hampson, who hit a solo homer in the fifth; Jean Segura, who hit an RBI single in the seventh; and Luis Arraez, who hit an RBI pinch-single in the seventh.

The Diamondbacks drew first blood in the top of the first against Marlins lefty Braxton Garrett. Second baseman Ketel Marte was hit on the foot by a pitch. He stayed in the game after being checked out and walking the pain off. Two batters later, left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled off the wall in left-center, advancing Marte to third. On the play, Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. was shaken up after attempting a leaping catch but also stayed in the game. First baseman Christian Walker plated Marte with a sacrifice fly to left, giving the Diamondbacks a 1–0 lead. The half-inning ended when designated hitter Evan Longoria flied to a diving Chisholm in shallow center.

The Marlins threatened in the bottom of the first against Diamondbacks righty Ryne Nelson. With one out, speedy shortstop Jon Berti legged out an infield single to second. Two batters later, left fielder Bryan De La Cruz singled to left, advancing Berti to second. Designated hitter Avisail Garcia reached on catcher’s interference, loading the bases for right fielder Jesus Sanchez. When he lined an atom ball to left, the inning ended with the bases loaded and the Diamondbacks still leading, 1–0.

Starting Pitchers Cruise, but Marlins Tie It Up

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Nelson retired nine of the next eleven hitters he faced, with the only two to reach being erased by subsequent double plays. Garrett kept pace with Nelson, retiring 11 of the next 14 batters faced in the second through fifth innings. No runs scored, however, as one of the three to reach was wiped out by a double play and the other two were left on base.

The twelfth batter of the sequence faced by Nelson came with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Hampson, the second baseman and number nine hitter, swung at a 3–2 hanging cutter over the heart of the plate and sent it in the air down the left-field line. It stayed fair by a few feet and cleared the fence for a home run, traveling 366 feet in the process. Nelson retired the next hitter he faced, Chisholm, to retire the side and followed it with a 1–2–3 sixth to end his day.

Diamondbacks Retake Lead, Marlins Respond

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Center fielder Corbin Carroll led off the top of the seventh against reliever Matt Barnes and doubled off the wall in right-center. Two hitters later, with catcher Gabriel Moreno batting, Carroll danced off the bag enough to distract Barnes into a balk. With Carroll now on third, Moreno singled up the middle against a drawn-in infield, scoring Carroll and giving the Diamondbacks a 2–1 lead.

New pitcher Andrew Nardi walked the first batter he faced, right fielder Jake McCarthy. Marte came up next and hit a foul fly near the seats outside shallow right field. First baseman Garrett Cooper ran it down and made a Willie Mays-style basket catch. Moreno started toward third, trying to draw a throw. Cooper’s throw went wide of third, hitting the dugout netting and allowing each runner to advance. Third baseman Josh Rojas came up next and walked, loading the bases for Gurriel. He could not capitalize on the chance to widen the lead, striking out instead and retiring the side.

The Fateful Bottom of the Seventh

Scott McGough took the mound for the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the seventh. Garcia welcomed him with a double to the right-field corner. Sanchez advanced him to third with an unassisted groundout to first. Segura fisted an inside 0–2 fastball, floating a single to shallow right and bringing Garcia in with the tying run. That brought up catcher Nick Fortes, who poked a slider up the middle for an end-of-the-bat single. Segura advanced to third on the play, bringing up pinch-hitter Luis Arraez with one out.

With Arraez being left-handed, southpaw reliever Andrew Chafin came into the game. Arraez swung at the first pitch, a sinker on the knuckles. It floated into shallow center for a single, scoring Segura and advancing Fortes to third. Carroll threw toward third, where shortstop Nick Ahmed cut it off. Ahmed saw that Arraez had taken too big a turn and fired to first in time to nab Arraez as he dove back in desperation. Chisholm ended the inning with a swinging strikeout, but the Marlins now held a 3–2 lead.

Marlins reliever Huascar Brazoban and Diamondbacks reliever Miguel Castro each pitched a perfect eighth. Tanner Scott followed suit in the top of the ninth, sealing the victory for the Marlins.

Postgame Reflections

Nelson pitched his second straight quality start, allowing one run on five hits in six innings, striking out four and walking none. However, he ended up with a “no decision” due to the late-inning rally by the Marlins. Nelson said he felt good, adding, “My command was better of all pitches. Obviously, I want to come out with the win. But personally, I’m taking the positives from it. I’m gonna keep moving forward and keep trying to put the team in position to win.”

“Any loss is a tough loss,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “But given the way that (Nelson) threw, the things that he did to keep us in the ballgame and making big pitches the right time — it hurts. It’s painful. So we just got to get better in a lot of different areas to win baseball games. It’s hard to win a baseball game. We did a lot of things right today, but there were some things that we could have done better.”

Lovullo later explained that he was referring to “capitalizing at the right time with the right guys up there” to “break the game open early.” He added that mid-afternoon starts like Saturday’s game are “built on momentum — strike first, get out to an early lead, and keep pressing.”

The Relievers

McGough was disappointed in the outcome, obviously, but not in his own execution. “I thought I made good pitches today,” he said. “They did a good job hitting them where we weren’t.” McGough has had some mixed results early on. He explained his mindset through the ups and downs by saying, “Of course, you want to be perfect, but you’re not going to be. It’s still early, and it’s cool that they trust me enough to be in those big spots. Hopefully I can build from this, get some consistency, and keep doing what I’m doing because this bullpen is really good. I know we’re better than this today, so this one’s on me.”

McGough mentioned that the Marlins hit some fastballs and hit a slider. Some were “weak contact.” He added that he and Moreno were “on the same page” before concluding with, “I thought I threw some good stuff today, but they got me. Sometimes that happens.”

Chafin said he was able to locate the pitch to Arraez where he wanted it, but Arraez simply beat him. He also said he didn’t expect Arraez to “bloop it right over the infield.” When asked what makes Arraez tough, Chafin simply stated, “He gets hits.” Chafin expressed disappointment in the loss but added that his teammates were playing their tails off and going as hard as they can. “You can’t ask anything more from the other guys,” he said.

Looking Ahead

Nardi (1–1) earned the win while McGough (0–2) took the loss. Scott notched the save, his first of the season.

The Marlins have clinched the series win. With that, the Diamondbacks have lost a series for the first time in 2023. They can avoid a series sweep Sunday at 1:40 pm Eastern/10:40 am Arizona Time. The matinee will feature two of the top pitchers in the National League from 2022 — Diamondbacks righty Zac Gallen (1–1, 4.58 ERA) and the Cy Young Award winner, Marlins righty Sandy Alcantara (1–1, 5.79 ERA).

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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