At this point of the year, every game matters and for the Marlins and the Yankees, that was especially true heading into Saturday’s game with both teams currently on the outside looking in at their league’s playoff race. With their ace Sandy Alcantara on the mound, the Marlins came into this game looking to tie the series at one game apiece and Alcantara did not disappoint.
Alcantara looked like Cy Young Sandy on Saturday. He shut down the Yankees lineup all afternoon en route to his third complete game of the year and 12th of his career.
Alcantara had all of his pitches going today and went through the Yankee lineup with almost no trouble at all. He worked efficiently and after the sixth inning, he was at only 67 pitches.
The Marlins defense was a big help to him. Joey Wendle and Jake Burger both made some nice plays at shortstop and third, respectively. The highlight of the day was from Yuli Gurriel in the top of the seventh. A pop fly was hit in foul territory down the first base side and Yuli tracked it all the way down and jumped up against the netting to make the play.
The Yankees got something going with a one-out walk from Billy McKinney (McKinney’s plate appearance would have ended with a strikeout if not for a missed strike three call by umpire Angel Hernandez). Alcantara would then balk, which sent McKinney to second. This was the third balk by Marlins pitchers in these first two games against the Yankees. Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled to drive McKinney in for the Yankees’ only run of the game.
There was a thought Alcantara may not go the distance after that extended seventh inning, but he rallied back and struck out the side in the eighth which gave manager Skip Schumaker the confidence to send him back out for the ninth.
“I just want to strike out everybody over there.” Alcantara said postgame when asked about setting a season high in strikeouts.
Sandy ended his day with a final line of 9 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K.
“It was a really impressive outing at a time where our team needed it the most.” Schumaker said about Alcantara’s start.
Luis Arraez was placed in the three-hole for Saturday’s game and in his first at-bat, he showed three-hole power by hitting the farthest home run of his career to put the Marlins up 2-0. This home run was blasted 409 feet over the right field wall and Arraez took his time to admire the work he had just done by standing at home plate to watch it fly over the fence.
Both teams would stay quite up until the bottom of the fourth where Burger and Sánchez would both get on base for the second time this game. Then with one out, Joey Wendle would drive in Burger with a sharp single to left-center field.
At 2 hours and three minutes, this was among the quickest Marlins games of the season and it was witnessed by a near-sellout crowd.
The Marlins will look to win the series on Sunday in what is set to be a pitcher’s duel. For the Marlins, it is the young star Eury Pérez and for the Yankees, it is the veteran star Gerrit Cole, who is in contention to win his first Cy Young award this year. First pitch is set for 1:40 ET.
Photo by Jesus Sanchez/Fish On First