Marlins Walk-Off Phillies

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6. 4. 82. Final. 3

The host Miami Marlins (10-12) scored a run in the bottom of the 9th to defeat the Phillies 4-3. The Phils (8-15) lost their 4th straight when, for the 2nd straight day, their offense disappeared over the final half of the game.

The Fish got the scoring started in the home half of the 2nd when Marcel Ozuna led off with a double off Phils starter Jerome Williams, went to 3rd on a ground out, and scored on a sac fly off the bat of J.T. Realmuto.

In the top of the 4th, it appeared as if the Phillies might actually blow the game open. Ben Revere and Odubel Herrera started with back-to-back singles off Marlins starter Tom Koehler. That brought the struggling Chase Utley to the plate. Utley drove a 3-run homer over the right field wall to put the Phils out in front.

But the inning wasn’t over. Ryan Howard walked, Grady Sizemore singled, and then with one out, Carlos Ruiz walked to load the bases. Freddy Galvis then struck out for the 2nd out. With Jerome Williams at the plate, a fastball got away from Realmuto. Howard tried to score, Koehler covered the plate, Realmuto recovered and threw to the pitcher who applied the tag, and Howard was called out on a close play that was reviewed but upheld.

Having survived that near-disaster inning, the Marlins battled back to tie it in the bottom of the 5th with a pair of runs. With one out, ex-Phil Reid Brignac walked and Dee Gordon singled. Martin Prado followed with a single to score Brignac, and Giancarlo Stanton then doubled to bring home Gordon with the tying run. Williams fought his way out of the jam, but the game was now 3-3 headed to the 6th.

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Both teams changed arms at the start of the 6th, with the Marlins bringing in Brad Hand, and the Phils bringing in Jeanmar Gomez. Hand got through the top, and Gomez got through the bottom thanks to a timely one-out, bases loaded 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Prado.

Both teams again changed arms for the 7th, with both A.J. Ramos of Miami and Luis Garcia of the Phillies getting their teams through safely. In the 8th, another change for each club, with Mike Dunn of the Fish and Ken Giles of the Phils keeping it tied at 3-3 as the game headed to the 9th inning.

In the top of the 9th, Steve Cishek came on for Miami. After getting the first two batters, Cody Asche drove a ball that bounced off the left-center field wall hard and away from the Marlins fielders. He scampered all the way to 3rd base, and the Phillies had the go-ahead run just 90 feet away. But Ruiz grounded out to 2nd base, leaving that runner stranded.

Phillies skipper Ryne Sandberg then made an unusual decision, leaving Giles in for a 2nd relief inning. On a 3-2 pitch to Stanton as the leadoff hitter, a close inside pitch went the Miami slugger’s way. The walk put him on 1st as the winning run, and that is exactly what he would become when Ozuna doubled to center.

The winning run wasn’t itself without a bit of drama. Stanton ran through a stop sign at 3rd base and chugged home. Herrera got a nice hop off the wall, getting the ball in to shortstop Galvis quickly. Galvis fired home to Ruiz, but the throw was a bit up the line on the foul side. Stanton slid home, Ruiz made a nice play to secure the throw and spin for the tag, but Stanton was ruled safe for the walkoff victory.

But as the Marlins celebrated on the field and their fans roared in the stands, the play was being reviewed by the umpires. A handful of available angles showed that the play was close in respect to whether Ruiz actually applied a tag, and if he did, whether Stanton had reached the plate first. Unfortunately for the Phillies, both points proved too close to overturn the call of the field.

So the Phillies lost again, recording just one hit after that big threat in the 4th, Cishek (1-1) gaining the win, and Giles (1-1) taking the loss. In the end, they were probably lucky the game was that close. The Marlins had 13 hits on the night, but left a dozen men on base.

Tomorrow evening, Cole Hamels takes the mound with trade rumors again beginning to swell up around him as a number of contending teams have recently lost key starting pitchers to injury. The Marlins will counter with veteran righthander Dan Haren.

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