After sweeping the A’s, the Marlins continued their 9-game home stretch on Monday by opening a 3-game set against the Kansas City Royals. Once again, it was an opportunity to feast on a non-contending team. However, the start of the game did not go as planned.
The top of the Royals order was all over Braxton Garrett. The No. 1-4 hitters went 6-for-8 with 4 RBIs in their first 8 at bats against Garrett. And just like the night before, after 3 innings, the Marlins were down 4 runs.
Garrett would stop the bleeding after the third inning by not allowing another baserunner.
This was a strange day for Garrett as he is usually very good against lefties. Going into Monday, he had only given up 5 hits to lefties all year. KC lefties Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez combined for 4 hits including a double and a home run.
“I think Pratto, he was seeing the ball well tonight,” Garrett said after the game. “Got behind them that first at-bat and made a good swing on a good sinker. Not too mad about that one, but probably went to the slider one too many times on the next time.”
The bottom of the Marlins order has been extremely productive as of late and that trend continued. By the end of the fourth inning, the Marlins had a 6-4 lead over the Royals and every single run that came across the plate was the No. 6-9 hitters. Nick Fortes, Joey Wendle, and Jon Berti each had multi-hit days.
“When you’re getting length out of the lineup from top to bottom, you feel really good about every single inning,” Skip Schumaker said postgame.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Marlins got into a big jam. After retiring the first two batters, Huascar Brazoban would walk the next three batters. With the bases loaded, Schumaker called on Andrew Nardi to face Drew Waters. In a 2-2 count, Nardi would sling a backfoot slider to get Waters swinging to end the inning.
Luis Arraez continues to rack up hit after hit. His 3-hit performance brought his season average up to .399.
Bryan De La Cruz didn’t want to let Arraez have all the fun. Right after Arraez got his third hit, De La Cruz blasted a two-run blast to left-center field. This is his eighth home run of the year and brought the lead to 9-4.
The Marlins were clicking on offense and they have been able to make comebacks look easy this year. There’s been some doubt about whether they can maintain these winning ways based on a very poor run differential, but since May 20, their run differential is at +19. On the year, it sits at -34, which ranks 23rd in the majors.
The Marlins improved to 5 games above .500, just 3 games back of the NL East-leading Braves.
The Marlins look to take the series on Tuesday with Jesus Luzardo on the mound. He will be facing off against veteran Zack Greinke.
Luzardo enters this game with a 4-4 record and a 4.05 ERA and with how this offense is swinging the bat lately, he should have a lot of confidence going into the game.