Saturday, April 11, 2015

Yelich's walk-off helps Marlins edge feisty Rays

The Marlins got their first win the hard way, blowing a couple of leads, but ending up celebrating in walk-off style. Christian Yelich's single to left offBrad Boxberger in the 10th inning lifted Miami to a 10-9 win over the Rays in a wild one at Marlins Park on Friday.
After watching a seven-run lead disappear, the Marlins regained the lead in the eighth inning on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Ernesto Frieri, who went after the slugger even though first base was open. Stanton, who had three RBIs, singled to center, scoring Dee Gordon.
Gordon had a big night, collecting three hits and scoring four runs. He doubled with one out in the 10th and raced home without a play on Yelich's hit, giving Miami its first victory.
Miami starter Dan Haren gave up one run, a homer to Kevin Kiermaier, in six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stanton showcases the arm: It's not always the wisest decision to test the mighty right arm. In the first inning, Asdrubal Cabrera did, and the end result was an easy out. Cabrera lined a two-out single in the first inning over first baseman Michael Morse's head. Looking to stretch the single to a double, Cabrera was thrown out easily by Stanton, who recorded his second outfield assist in as many games.
Run down leads to run: Gordon's ability to prolong a rundown in the first inning, enabled Yelich to advance to second base. It was a significant play, because Yelich was in scoring position and scored on Morse's RBI single to center, giving Miami its first lead of the season. Gordon singled to open the inning, and stole second. He was caught between second and third on Yelich's come-back grounder to pitcher Steve Geltz, leading to the rundown.
Big inning blitz: Considering the fact they managed just three runs in three games against the Braves, the Marlins finally broke through with a big inning. It came in the fourth, when they put up six runs and sent 10 to the plate offErasmo RamirezAdeiny Hechavarria, snapped an 0-for-11 to start the year with an RBI double. Stanton drove in two with a double. Yelich had a two-run single while Morse drove in a run with a single.
Necessary evil: Based on the dire situation of the Rays' starting pitching, the team opted to have Geltz, a reliever, start Friday night's game. The rationale included the state of the starting staff -- Alex CobbMatt Moore, Drew Smyly, and Alex Colome are all out -- combined with the fact they were playing without a DH. Thus, Geltz pitched two innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk, and came out for a pinch hitter in the top of the third -- just as planned.
Rays come back: Trailing 8-1 heading into the top of the seventh, the Rays took advantage of Haren's departure, as the Marlins starter seemingly had the Rays under control. Cabrera singled off Haren's replacement, David Phelps, to open the seventh. One out later, Desmond Jennings singled. Then the floodgates opened thanks to Marlins pitchers. Phelps walked the next two, allowing a run to score. Sam Dyson replaced Phelps and proceeded to walk in two more. A.J. Ramos replaced Dyson and David DeJesus greeted him with a three-run double before scoring on on Cabrera's second hit of the inning to cap the seven-run inning that tied the game. More >
Legging it out:The Rays had runners at first and third with one out in the ninth. They needed Brandon Guyer to score from third to tie the game at 9. Cabrera then grounded to Morse at first and he opted to try for the inning-ending double play, throwing to second then hustling back to the back. But Cabrera beat the throw to first, allowing Guyer to plate the Rays' ninth run.
"Soon as I hit it I knew I had to run, it was close, but I was safe there," Cabrera said.
That would send the game into extra innings.
QUOTABLE
"We were just battling all night, even to the last at-bat. That was a big win for us. Big team win, all around. We're finally on the board. Finally got that first [win]. We can go back to playing baseball now." -- Yelich, on his walk-off hit
"Our offense really battled, and put together some great at-bats. I just thought we were going to win that game the whole night, despite what happened. The attitude was good. Guys were battling." -- Miami manager Mike Redmond
"I was really maybe trying to do too much. … They were aggressive, too, early in the county. At the same time, I executed pitches and they made good swings. So they got good contact." -- Ramirez, on what happened in the fourth when the Marlins scored six runs on his watch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Kiermaier led off Friday night, thereby bringing an end to a streak of three games in which the Rays used three different designated hitters, all batting leadoff. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last team to start three different players at DH batting leadoff in three consecutive games was the Indians, Aug. 14-16, 1991. In his 15th plate appearance, Gordon drew his first walk of the season. Gordon didn't even walk in Spring Training. He had 63 at-bats in the spring, and was hit by a pitch once. But never walked.
WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: Chris Archer will make his second start of the season. He has faced them once in his career, losing 1-0 on a bases-loaded walk by Yelich in the fifth inning. It was the second time in club history the Rays were defeated 1-0 on a bases-loaded walk, along with June 26, 2005 vs. Florida.
Marlins: Jarred Cosart, pushed to the fifth starter spot due to a blister, gets the middle game of the three-game set with the Rays. Cosart was shaping up to be the No. 2 starter, but a blister on his right middle finger pushed him back.

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