Extra innings aren’t a forte of the Marlins,
Then again, few things are.
On a night that was unseasonably chilly, the White Sox came up with a run in the 11th to hand the Marlins a 4-3 loss.
Jeff Keppinger drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded single off Ryan Webb and the Marlins fell to 1-4 this season in extra-inning games. And so their interleague showdown with Chicago’s South Siders began the way so many series have started out this season for the Marlins: with a loss.
The White Sox loaded the bases in the 11th with one out on a pair of singles by Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo and an intentional walk to Conor Gillaspie.
The same situation for the White Sox in the 10th didn’t pay off.
But Keppinger got the job done in the 11th when he singled through the hole on the left side for the game-winner.
In John Danks, the Marlins were facing a pitcher who hadn’t taken the mound in more than a year and underwent surgery to repair his left shoulder only last August.
But the White Sox’s Opening Day starter in 2012 didn’t look rusty early on, retiring his first seven batters and taking a no-hitter into the fourth before Placido Polanco singled to lead off the fourth.
That small hiccup led to an even greater one when rookie Derek Dietrich homered to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead. And with Tom Koehler in command early, it looked like it could stick.
Koehler was struck in the back of his shoulder by a Jeff Keppinger line drive in the third, but shook it off and continued to pitch well until he reached the White Sox fifth. That’s when Chicago came up with a pair of runs to tie it.
The White Sox took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on Paul Konerko’s two-out single off Koehler, who was bidding for his first major league win in what was his fourth career starts.
He wasn’t successful in that quest. But neither did he suffer what would have been his fourth successive loss as a starter. That’s because the Marlins removed him from the decision in the seventh when Miguel Olivo tied it off former Marlins reliever Matt Lindstrom on a sacrifice fly.
The Marlins, however, squandered a chance for more when Jeff Mathis grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
The Marlins have grounded into more double plays with runners in scoring position than any team in the majors: 22. They have also grounded in to six double plays with the bases loaded, tied with the A’s and Angels for most in the majors.
The game might have ended in the 10th had a call not gone in the Marlins’ favor. With one out and the bases loaded, Alex Rios bounced a grounder to short. The Marlins got the force at second for one out, but replays showed Rios beat the throw to first to avoid the double play and allow the winning run to score.
First base umpire Angel Hernandez saw otherwise, though, and called out Rios on the close play.