Ricky Nolasco dug himself a deep early hole. The determined Marlins dug him out gradually, recovering from a first-inning deficit of 5-0 to prevail 6-5 in 10 innings over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
And it was red-hot Giancarlo Stanton who delivered the deciding blow, a sharp RBI single with two outs in the 10th that drove in Gorkys Hernandez with the go-ahead run.
The comeback from a five-run deficit was the largest of the season for the Marlins, and though they remained in last place, they pulled within a half-game of both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies for third.
They have gone 4-2 on the road trip to continue their run of success this season against National League West foes. They are now 18-11 against teams from that division. They are also 9-3 this season in extra-inning games.
Tuesday’s victory did not come as easily as Monday’s 12-3 rout of Arizona.
One night after the Marlins scored nine runs in a single inning, the Diamondbacks did their best to duplicate the outburst by erupting for five runs off Nolasco in the first. Each of Arizona’s first six batters reached by either hit or walk, and it looked as if Nolasco’s outing would be short-lived.
“Obviously you don’t want to put your team down 5-0,” Nolasco said. “I don’t know the last time a team came back to win after it started out down 5-0.”
Said Stanton: “At first, I thought we were going to get the same treatment we gave them yesterday. Early in the year, we would have just given up and lost 10-0 or 5-0 or whatever. But we fought. Everyone contributed tonight.”
After barely surviving the first, Nolasco stiffened.
The Diamondbacks put only three men aboard during Nolasco’s remaining four innings on the mound. At the same time, the Marlins began chipping away at the lead. Donovan Solano drove in their first run with a sharp single to center in the second inning. Later in the inning, Nolasco helped his own cause by bouncing a double over the wall in left to make it 5-2.
The Marlins tied it with three runs in the sixth while knocking out Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill in the process. Solano singled in a run, Gorkys Hernandez drove in another with a broken-bat infield hit and Bryan Petersen tied it with his single to center.
“Nobody gave in, nobody rolled over,” Nolasco said.
Hernandez was a second-inning replacement for center fielder Emilio Bonifacio, who left the game with what the Marlins reported to be pain in his right knee. Bonifacio, who struck out looking in his first at bat and made what appeared to be two routine plays in center before coming out, is listed as day-to-day.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said Bonifacio would undergo a MRI on Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury. As a result, the Marlins will be short a player for their day-night doubleheader.
The Marlins had a chance to take the lead in the seventh by loading the bases with one out. But rookie catcher Rob Brantly tapped back to the mound for an easy force at home for the second out and Brad Ziegler struck out pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano to end the inning.
The lightning-quick Hernandez opened the 10th against reliever Sam Demel by beating out an infield grounder to the shortstop on a close play at first.
“When I hit the ball, I knew I had a chance to get to first base,” Hernandez said. “I thought it was very, very close.”
Hernandez moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and, after Jose Reyes was intentionally walked, advanced to third on Carlos Lee’s fly ball to deep center.
Stanton, who had hit five home runs through the first five games of the road trip, ripped an 0-1 pitch through the left side of the infield to score Hernandez. Stanton didn’t put one out on Tuesday, but went 3-for-5. Solano reached base in each of his five at bats.
Steve Cishek preserved the win for his 10th save.