MIA 4, BAL 5: Late Rally Not Enough to Avoid Sweep

Cueto shines in return, bats erupt in 9th, but Baltimore holds on for victory.

Cueto shines in return, bats erupt in 9th, but Baltimore holds on for victory.

Staring down the barrel of a potential sweep at the hands of a surging Baltimore Orioles club, Sunday would be a bullpen day for the Marlins pitching staff. To their dismay, opener Steven Okert—starting his first game since 2019 when he was pitching in AAA—failed to set the tone in a positive direction, allowing 3 runs before recording an out. The Orioles led the rest of the way, securing a 5-4 victory and a sweep of Miami.

Back-to-back doubles off the bats of Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman would plate Baltimore’s opening salvo. Three hitter Anthony Santander, doing his best Vladimir Guerrero Sr. impression, deposited a slider a good three inches below the strike zone over the center field wall for a two-run home run. Okert’s day would be done after recording all of just 1 out.

In relief of Okert, George Soriano would extinguish the 1st-inning flames, only needing 4 pitches to record the final two outs. Though his command would abandon him by way of back-to-back hit by pitches and a walk in the bottom of the 4th, Soriano would give Miami 3-plus innings, allowing 2 unearned runs without surrendering a hit.

Of the two runs surrendered at the hands of Soriano, the first (Baltimore’s fourth) would come around to score on a James McCann ground ball misplayed by shortstop Joey Wendle.

The Orioles would add one more in the 4th when Henderson plated Colton Cowser with a sacrifice fly to right.

Undoubtedly the best story for Miami, and maybe the entire weekend, was the triumphant return of Johnny Cueto.

Pitching just 1 inning in an April 3 start against the Mets before missing 3 1/2 months with biceps and ankle injuries, Cueto returned to the tune of 3 scoreless innings. Sufficed to say this was more than encouraging considering what Cueto had done in his 7 rehab starts. The 37-year-old Cueto pitched to a 10.24 ERA over 29 MiLB innings, allowing 49 hits while surrendering a staggeringly-high 16 home runs while working his way back from injury.

“He attacked…velocity was up 93-94. Changeup was good,” said manager Skip Schumaker.

To Schumaker’s point, Cueto registered 13 fastballs 93.0-plus mph, topping out at 93.7. Quite a contrast from the veteran’s AAA outings—his fastball velo maxed out at 92.4 for Jacksonville. Perhaps it was the adrenaline of competing at the highest level, or a byproduct of being able to “air it out” in a relief role rather than having to pace himself.

Making his first career start against Miami, Kyle Bradish proved pristine, limiting the Fish to just 3 hits over 7 1/3 shutout innings to pick up his 6th win of the season.

Batting in the top of the 9th, though, the Marlins—still trailing by 5—would turn things on in a big way.

Garrett Cooper‘s second hit of the day and a Yuli Gurriel double would set Miami up for 2nd and 3rd before both were driven in by a Jean Segura double. In 12 July contests, Segura has hit .341.

Segura would immediately race home on a Jon Berti single to cut the deficit to 2 before Dane Myers capped off a 3-for-3 day with an RBI double to score Berti. In doing so, Myers became the 11th player in Marlins history to hit at least .400 in his first 9 games with the club (he’s at .406).

However, Miami’s hopes of a comeback would be squashed when Luis Arraez (0-for-5, K) flew out to left to end the afternoon.

With the loss, the Marlins fall to 21-8 in one-run games, and 53-42 overall.

Of Note

  • Santander’s 1st inning home run was the 100th of his career.
  • With the loss, Miami’s run differential now sits at minus-10 through 95 games played.
  • Wacky stat line: George Soriano became just the 15th pitcher since 1901 and first since 1990 to pitch at least 3 hitless innings while allowing 2 or more unearned runs, but 0 earned runs.

Looking Ahead

Things, at least on paper, look to get easier for Miami moving forward. They’ll travel to St. Louis to matchup against the Cardinals, who the Marlins took 3 of 4 from July 3-6.

Skip Schumaker and Co. will turn to Jesús Luzardo (8-5, 3.29 ERA) in Monday’s series opener. Against St. Louis on July 4, Luzardo worked 6 scoreless frames en route to his 7th win of the season in a 15-3 Miami rousting. First pitch from Busch Stadium is slated for 7:45 EST.

One response to “MIA 4, BAL 5: Late Rally Not Enough to Avoid Sweep”

  1. 158 more innings and Cueto will be eligible for the Cy Young vote.

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