STL 4, MIA 5: Seventh-inning Schumagic

Schumaker’s maneuvers pay off in close win over former club.

After getting swept quite convincingly in Atlanta over the weekend, the Marlins came back to Miami on Monday to take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Skip Schumaker was excited to manage against the organization that he called home for so many years.

“I mean, almost everything I know, I learned from the St. Louis Cardinals in some capacity—as a coach or player, even in the front office. A very special time over there and I saw a lot of good buddies over there already today.”

Skip spent eight seasons with the Cardinals as a player and was hired as their bench coach for the 2022 season. In his first game managing against his old team, he provided the magic managerial move that helped Miami steal one from St. Louis.

Miami’s offense started off hot on Monday against Cards starter Miles Mikolas. After a couple of hits by fellow All-Stars Luis Arraez and Jorge Soler, outfielders Bryan De La Cruz and Jesús Sánchez drove them in with a groundout and a double, respectively, to give the team a 2-0 lead after one. After allowing a one-out single in the 2nd to Nick Fortes, Mikolas settled in and retired 14 straight Marlins.

After recording the first out in the 7th, Mikolas walked Garrett Cooper and Jean Segura to put men on 1st and 2nd with one out. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol, with his team leading 4-2, went to the bullpen to bring in right-hander Andre Pallante. With lefty Joey Wendle at the plate, it seemed like a no brainer to let him bat for himself as he also ranked 7th in MLB in batting average in the month of June.

Skip Schumaker politely called Wendle back to the dugout, and sent veteran right-hander Yuli Gurriel to the plate to pinch-hit, causing some confusion—at least in my mind.

On the very first pitch, Gurriel drilled one into the right-field corner that scored two and sent a packed loanDepot Park into a frenzy.

“It was the reverse (splits) with Pallante. We prepared guys before the game to be ready in case Pallante came in. Yuli and Berti were both ready and that’s a huge hit obviously with men on base and to score the runs” said Schumaker.

The first-year manager has made countless moves this season that have directly impacted the game positively for Miami, but none them top tonight’s. The very next batter, Nick Fortes drove one into right to score the go-ahead run. All of a sudden, Miami stole the lead and never looked back.

Braxton’s start

Marlins starter Braxton Garrett, who is deserving of an All-Star nod in his own right, pitched well against a right-handed heavy Cardinals lineup on Monday. Through his first five innings, he held the Cards to 2 runs on 6 hits, keeping his team tied at 2-2.

“I thought it went well, I wasn’t super sharp but made pitches when I had to; was able to get a couple of strikeouts with the curveball which is different,” said Garrett.

In the top of the sixth, Willson Contreras led the off the frame with a hard-hit double (111.2 mph). After recording the next two outs, Skip went to Andrew Nardi to try and strand the runner on second. Instead, Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong drilled an opposite-field double to give his team the lead. Nardi had been one of the best relievers in baseball at stranding inherited runners, leaving 27 of 30 on base (a 90% clip).

“He’s been really good in dirty innings. I throw him out there, lefty-righty doesn’t matter he’s been really good and I still trust Nardi with base runner in scoring position” Skip said on Nardi.

Garrett’s final line was 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. He’ll make one more start before the All-Star break against the Phillies at loanDepot Park on Saturday.

Miami wound up victorious by a final score of 5-4. Huascar Brazoban “earned” the win, Mikolas took the loss, and Puk saved his 14th game of the season. Miami improves back to 12 games over .500 at 49-37 and the Cardinals fell to a dissapointing 35-49. Miami will play game two of this 4-game set on the 4th of July with Jesús Luzardo on the bump. He will oppose Adam Wainwright.

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