Right about the time booming thunderclaps began rattling the rafters at Marlins Park, and flashes of lightning brightened the night sky on the other side of the glass panels in left, Garrett Jones made some noise of his own.
All it took was one swing of the bat.
Jones unleashed on a Brian Schlitter fastball, turning a 1-0 fastball into a three-run homer that propelled the Marlins to a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. The blast ended a drought of 74 consecutive at-bats without a home run for Jones, who last hit one on May 23.
The ball hit the padding on the top of the fence and bounced over.
“It was nice to see it bounce over there,” Jones said. “I was getting up on my tiptoes, just wishing it would go over. Sometimes those bounce in, but I’m glad it went the other way this time.”
The victory kept the Marlins in a three-team logjam at the top of the National League East standings, tied with the Atlanta Braves and a half game behind the Washington Nationals.
While Jones provided the most explosive moment of the night for the Marlins — at least of the man-made variety — it was Anthony DeSclafani who gave them the kind of start they have been longing for.
Though DeSclafani, who was called up in Monday’s massive wave of roster moves, gave up four runs, he pitched into the seventh and gave the Marlins’ taxed bullpen a much-needed respite from a heavy workload the previous four days.
The 24-year-old rookie didn’t receive a decision. The win, the first of his major-league career, went to reliever Sam Dyson. But DeSclafani gave the Marlins reason to think their rotation is better off with he and Andrew Heaney in it.
Heaney, who was also part of Monday’s overhaul, will make his big-league debut Thursday against the New York Mets.
On Monday, DeSclafani did exactly what the Marlins hoped he would, pounding the strike zone relentlessly and daring the Cubs to take their cuts. Of his 99 pitches over 6 1/3 innings, 63 were thrown in the strike zone.
After a clean, 1-2-3 first inning, DeSclafani ran into trouble in the second when the Cubs came up with three runs, two coming on a Junior Lake home run.
“The second inning kind of snowballed on me a little bit,” DeSclafani said. “I knew I had to rebound and throw some zeroes up and give my team a chance to win.”
Some sloppy fielding by the Cubs enabled the Marlins to get back into it. A throwing error by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro on the back end of a double play ball enabled Furcal to score in the first inning.
And the Marlins scored two more runs in the fourth following an error by Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, with Furcal driving in both with one of his two hits on the night.
Adeiny Hechavarria had four hits — all singles — and Jake Marisnick, yet another of Monday’s call-ups from Triple A, came through with his second two-hit performance in as many games.
Despite all that, the Cubs managed to take the lead in the seventh after former Marlin Chris Coghlan reached on a one-out single off DeSclafani. Dyson took over and promptly gave up an RBI double to Lujis Valbuena. But he kept the Cubs from causing any more damage, and the Marlins rallied back in their half of the seventh.
After Hechavarria reached on a bunt and McGehee got aboard with a walk, Jones stepped to the plate with a chance to make up for Monday’s near miss when his long drive to right, a potential game-winning shot in extra innings, curled just foul of the pole.
This time, it wasn’t the direction that came into question. It was the distance of his blast.
“It kind of had a little topspin on it, just enough,” Jones said. “I hit some balls foul the last couple of days. That one, at least it was going to be fair.”
Though it sounded solid coming off the bat, the ball struck the top of the fence padding in right before bounding over into the Marlins bullpen. The home run was Jones’ ninth of the season.
Despite allowing a run in the ninth, Steve Cishek closed out the win for his 16th save.