SD 1, MIA 2: Nick Fortes becomes the walk-off hero

The Marlins remarkably rallied against Josh Hader in the ninth inning to even the series.

After suffering a 9-4 loss on Tuesday night, the Marlins looked to bounce back in game two as they had Braxton Garrett on the mound. Aside from giving up a home run early in the game, Braxton held his own and only allowed one run throughout his 5 1/3 innings of work. Despite the Marlins offense grounding into three double plays, Nick Fortes would walk it off to win the game. Final score: 2-1.

Garrett has credited his new cutter for some of his recent success, but he went in a different direction against the Padres, relying more on his sinker and slider. His putaway pitch was the changeup, which got him three strikeouts.

“My changeup was great tonight,” said Garrett. “Kinda made a few adjustments with it coming into the start and didn’t use as many sliders tonight.”

“Yeah, that’s one of the pitches that I’m talking about that’s grown so much,” said Nick Fortes after the game. “It used to be like a last option, a last resort for him, but he’s gotten to a point to where now we’re going into it more and kind of evening out those different pitches.”

It didn’t hurt that Braxton’s velo was slightly up on most of his pitches. Overall, he generated a season-high 14 whiffs.

Garrett’s only mistake of the night came in the top of the third inning when newest Padre Gary Sanchez crushed a solo homer into left field to give San Diego the 1-0 lead. Sanchez’s homer left the bat at 111.4 MPH and went 406 feet to left field.

The only other issue aside from the home run was the length of his outing. Marlins manager Skip Schumaker decided to take him out after only 79 pitches. Even so, there is a lot for Garrett to be proud of.

Blake Snell entered the night struggling with a 5.04 ERA, but you wouldn’t know it from watching him work against the Marlins as he went six innings, gave up three hits, walked three, and struck out six.

Aside from using his trusty fastball, Snell went with the changeup which was a pitch he had only used 13.6% of the time this season. He used that pitch more since it worked as a putaway pitch. Aside from that, his usage was the same and the velocity was up on most of his pitches.

“I had Snell when I was over there at San Diego,” said Skip Schumaker. “You will see a guy that has really good stuff all the time. It’s just if he throws enough strikes and does and he did today and his curveball was really good.”

After shutting out the Marlins for eight straight innings, the Padres went with Josh Hader to close the game out.

Yuli Gurriel drew a lead-off walk and Joey Wendle advanced him to second with a sacrifice bunt. With one out, Jean Segura, who had one of Miami’s four hits up to that point, smacked an RBI double to drive in Gurriel and tie the game up at one apiece. Turning 39 years old next week, Yuli wasn’t signed for his baserunning, but he showed off the speed by sprinting 27.4 feet per second on the play.

“In the last couple of days, I feel more aggressive,” said Segura. “I feel like when you’re struggling, it’s like automatic first two pitches strike out of the way and now just start fighting pitches outside and so on and so on.”

This was Segura’s 500th career RBI.

Right after Segura, it was Nick Fortes’ turn to take a hack at Hader. Fortes received help as Jean stole third to put himself in an even better spot. All Fortes had to do was hit a sac fly deep enough for Segura to score, but Fortes ended things off even better. On a 1-1 count, Fortes smacked the ball 105.2 MPH to the first-base side to drive in Segura to win it.

“Just honestly looking for a fastball and get on top of it,” said Fortes. “We know that (Hader’s) fastball plays good at the top of the and from the on-deck circle that’s what it was looking like, so I was just looking for a fastball and just try to get on top of it.”

“Had a good road trip,” said Schumaker on Fortes. “Anaheim, that series was really good. The bat started to come alive and he caught some really good games.”

This marked the first time all season that Josh Hader had given up multiple earned runs, so what Miami did tonight was impressive off of the April NL Reliever of the month.

Game Notes

  • The Marlins finish the month of May with a 13-14 record
  • This was Nick Fortes’ second career walk-off winner. The last one came on June 26, 2022 when he hit the walk-off home run against the Mets.
  • The Marlins bullpen combined for six total strikeouts. Brazoban and Okert each had three strikeouts.
  • The Marlins are now 16-4 in one-run games.

The Marlins currently sit at 29-27, just one game shy of win number 30 on the season. The Marlins are in second place in the NL East.

On Thursday, Jesus Luzardo takes the bump against Joe Musgrove who’s a better pitcher than his 2023 numbers suggest. First pitch at 1:10 p.m.

Featured image by Photo by Al Diaz/Miami Herald

3 responses to “SD 1, MIA 2: Nick Fortes becomes the walk-off hero”

  1. […] a thrilling comeback victory the night before, the Marlins looked to snatch the series from the Padres as they faced off in a […]

  2. […] RECAP: SD 1, MIA 2 (by Kevin Barral) […]

  3. Thomas P Joseph Avatar
    Thomas P Joseph

    This one really feels good! Handwringing frustration during the game but all forgotten with the comeback against Hader. Ahh!

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