MIA 6, PIT 4: A tale of two Garretts

Marlins left-hander strikes out 13 while first baseman of same name crushes game-winning homer.

Marlins left-hander strikes out 13 while first baseman of same name crushes game-winning homer.

In a game where the Garrett’s shined, the Marlins showed what they have had all year: NO QUIT! A pitcher’s duel in Miami Thursday night up until the eighth inning took a crazy turn, and it led to a 6-4 Marlins win.  

For the Marlins, Braxton Garrett pitched the best game of his career as he threw a season-high seven innings and struck out a career-high 13 batters. Garrett had everything going for him, but his slider was his best pitch—he generated seven whiffs and six of his 13 K’s with it. Garrett was also able to sequence his sinker and slider in a way that caused many hitters to be caught off guard and not know what was coming.

“The cutter today was really good, stayed at the top of the zone” Garrett said postgame. “The sinker off of it was fantastic, yeah we just had a good plan and everything we executed.”  

The fourth inning was the only hiccup for Garrett. Connor Joe sparked some offense with two outs by singling to center and Carlos Santana followed him with a deep line drive to center that went down for an RBI double despite a diving effort from Jonathan Davis. Santana would then steal third and an overthrow from Nick Fortes would allow Santana to score and put the Pirates up 2-0.  

Mitch Keller was also fantastic—he threw seven strong innings while striking out five. The Marlins did not have much of an answer for anything Keller threw as he incorporated every weapon in his deep pitch mix. The Marlins were able to sneak a run by him in the second thanks to a Garrett Cooper double and a Jon Berti sacrifice fly, but other than that, Keller was great.

Postgame Skip Schumaker said, “Couple of the coaches were talking about, ‘Man, I hope we don’t waste this start of Brax,’ because it was so good. But Keller was really good, too. Keller had all his stuff going.”

As for the other “Garrett,” Garrett Cooper had a huge day at the plate. He started early with a double in the first inning, and he would then hit a single up the middle in the fourth. This all led to the eighth inning where with one out he stepped up with the tying run on third and the eventual winning run on second. Cooper would waste no time swinging at the first pitch and sending it 413 ft. into the right-center field bleachers to send the crowd into a frenzy and put the Marlins up 4-3.

Cooper shared his approach to the at-bat postgame: “So the first pitch, just get a fastball and get it in the air, but the pitch was down, but, you know, that’s my strong suit. Just trying to hit the air, that was literally all I was trying to do.” 

The comeback kids would strike again in the eighth. The inning started with a leadoff double from Jonathan Davis and after a walk from Luis Arraez and a single from Jorge Soler the bases would be loaded. Bryan De La Cruz would step up and deliver a clutch two run single to bring the Marlins within one. This all led to the big home run from Cooper.  

“When you come from behind and win early in the season you know you can do it in the middle of the season or late in the season, so there is no panic,” manager Skip Schumaker said postgame.

The Pirates would get on the scoreboard again in the eighth inning as 2021 first overall draft pick Henry Davis hit his first career home run off Andrew Nardi. Ke’Bryan Hayes would follow Davis with a home run of his own to put the Pirates up 4-1.  

Looking ahead 

The Marlins will send out Jesús Luzardo in game 2 of this four-game set. He is up against Luis Ortiz of the Pirates. First pitch on “Flashback Friday” is set for 6:40 EST.  

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