PITTSBURGH – “Embrace the adversity” has been the motto inside the Marlins clubhouse for the past couple of days. After a regular three-game set in Queens turned into a two-and-a-half-game, weather-centric disaster, Miami had to begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday night with many unanswered questions. One of which is whether or not Miami will need to travel back to New York on Monday following the conclusion of the 2023 regular season. “I haven’t talked to the league about it yet. I’m sure Kim has talked to them for a majority of the day, so I’m just trying to figure out how to beat the Pirates,” manager Skip Schumaker said pregame. Well, thanks to a four-run top of the eighth inning, Miami secured a crucial win as they beat the Pirates 4-3 and lowered their magic number to one.
After not scoring through the first seven innings on Friday night, Miami’s bats finally woke up in the top of the eighth to complete the exhilarating come-from-behind win.
Entering the inning down 3-0, Miami sent ten men to the plate in the frame, producing four runs on five hits against three different Pittsburgh pitchers. The Marlins loaded the bases with one out for former Pirate Josh Bell, who drilled a two-run double to finally put Miami on the board. Jake Burger followed with a run-scoring single and Jazz Chisholm Jr. topped the inning off with a go-ahead sac fly, which made it 4-3.
“I’ve been proud of them all year. They’ve done this all year long. We were pretty lethargic; I tried not to say that earlier, but you could tell. I was even tired and I don’t do anything other than a couple of signs,” said Schumaker postgame.
A huge development in that inning was pinch-hitter Luis Arraez, who came off the bench and took an at-bat for the first time since re-aggravating his left ankle on September 23. He, of course, drilled a single to left to keep the inning going and brought the tying run to the plate.
“He told me he was available to pinch hit. Of course, he got a hit when he hadn’t seen a pitch in a week, so right there, we really tried to get a bloop and a blast to get within one before the ninth,” added Skip.
Skip was non-commital to Luis Arraez being in the lineup on Saturday. “It’s tough because Soly [Soler] needs to DH, so if he were 100%, I’d say yeah, possibly. Him taking ground balls today was a huge step, but I just don’t know if he’s ready.”
Arraez, however, announced postgame that he feels ready and expects to be in Saturday’s lineup. We shall see.
Cabrera struggles early
Edward Cabrera started this game for Miami, marking his third start since being recalled from AAA Jacksonville on September 6. He had pitched well in his four appearances going into Friday, as he sported a 1.89 ERA in 19 innings pitched. The walks, however, remain to be a concern for the young right-hander. On Friday, he walked three Pirate batters over 3 ⅔ innings pitched.
“He didn’t have his stuff tonight. Changeup wasn’t where it was the last couple of starts. Luckily Okert got a really big out there, and the bullpen did what they’ve done all year,” said Skip.
After he escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first, Cabrera ran into trouble in the bottom of the third. A walk followed by two singles loaded the bases again for Pittsburgh, and Cabrera couldn’t escape unscathed this time. Ke’Bryan Hayes drilled a sharp grounder to third that Jake Burger picked and then threw Hayes out. It scored a run but saved two more from coming in.
In the following inning, Cabrera allowed another walk and three more hits, which made it 2-0 and forced Schumaker to go to his bullpen earlier than he would have liked. Steven Okert inherited a two-out, bases-loaded situation against Bryan Reynolds, who hit a weak ground ball to shortstop Garrett Hampson, who airmailed the throw. Another run scored on the E6, which made it 3-0 Pittsburgh.
Bullpen does their job; Scott returns
After Okert limited the damage in the bottom of the fourth, Miami’s bullpen combined to shut out the Pirates for the remaining five innings. “Okie [Steven Okert] got a really big out there in the fourth. That was huge. They didn’t allow them to put up any huge crooked numbers, and that helped keep us in the game,” said Skip.
With Andrew Nardi having pitched the last two nights, Schumaker went with David Robertson in the eighth, who pitched a scoreless frame.
For the ninth, fresh off the Paternity List was closer Tanner Scott, who pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to secure the 83rd win of the season for Miami. “Actually, that bullpen before the rain delay yesterday helped me get back into the groove, and then today, when I got warm, it didn’t feel as foreign. So I looked at that as a positive,” said Scott.
With the win, Miami improved to 83-76 and lowered their magic number to two. Huascar Brazoban earned his fifth win of the season. With the Cubs’ late-inning loss on Friday night, Miami can clinch as early as Saturday night with a win or Cubs and Reds loss. JT Chargois will open for Miami.
- Huascar Brazoban made his first appearance since August 13. He worked a scoreless frame.
- Miami completed their 41st come-from-behind win of the season.
- Arraez recorded his 203rd hit of the season
- The Marlins recorded their 6th win of the season when trailing by 3+ runs at the end of the seventh inning, the most by any MLB team in a single season in the modern era.
Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images