From the second inning through the ninth on Sunday, the Marlins didn’t get a runner to second base at Coors Field. They managed only two hits during that time, and both belonged to Dee Gordon.
But Adeiny Hechavarria not only reached second in the 10th, he kept on going all the way to the plate after belting a tiebreaking home run to center in the Marlins’ 3-2 victory over Colorado.
“Right off the bat, I knew it was gone,” Hechavarria said.
Hechavarria propelled Boone Logan’s 2-1 slider into the forest area, just on the other side of the fence in straightaway center, and A.J. Ramos worked a 1-2-3 10th to preserve the victory.
The Marlins took two out of three from the Rockies and have now won each of their past three series.
“He’s got sneaky power,” manager Dan Jennings said of Hechavarria, who has hit three homers. “To put up the numbers he’s put up so far in the No. 8 hole, he’s been absolutely amazing.”
It looked initially as though the Marlins were headed for a big offensive day at hitter-friendly Coors when they produced two runs in the first behind a string of four singles.
But Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick shut them down thereafter.
Kendrick owns a career mark of 14-3 against the Marlins, all of that success coming when he was a member of the Phillies. And when he held the Marlins to only a pair of hits — Gordon singles — over the next six innings, it appeared as though he might be headed to his 15th win all-time against the Marlins.
The problem for Colorado, though, loomed in the form of Marlins rookie starter Jose Urena, who turned in the most impressive outing of the three starts he has made so far.
Urena held the Rockies to only one run over six innings.
“Great start by the kid, and in that ballpark,” Jennings said.
Even though he had only thrown 82 pitches, Jennings decided to take Urena out after the sixth and turn the game over to the bullpen.
“No way were we going to let that kid lose that game, after pitching that quality of an outing, and in this ballpark,” Jennings said.
“We had a fresh bullpen at the back end.”
The Marlins had a 2-1 lead going into the seventh when the Rockies tied it off Carter Capps on Carlos Gonzalez’s leadoff home run. Trouble continued for the hard-throwing reliever when each of the next two batters reached, as well.
But the Marlins caught a major break right after that when Capps fielded Nick Hundley’s bunt and fired to third to get the lead runner. Third-base umpire Tony Randazzo called the runner safe, and the Marlins challenged based on video replay coach Pat Shine’s advice.
Replays proved them right, and the call was overturned.
Instead of facing a bases-loaded situation with no outs, Capps had a little more wiggle room with two aboard and one out, and he struck out each of the next two batters to end the threat.
“That was a huge,” Jennings said of the overturned call. “That could have put us in a bad situation.”
Then came the 10th, and with two outs Hechavarria went to the plate simply hoping to reach base.
“I wasn’t looking for a home run,” Hechavarria said. “I was looking to get a hit in that at-bat. Fortunately, it was a home run. He was working what appeared to be sinkers down and away. Then he tried to sneak in a slider that hung over the plate.”
Hechavarria said he is capable of hitting for more power, but settles instead on finding ways to reach base.
“I have power,” he said. “But that’s not my game. My game is to focus on hitting the ball up the middle and the other way. Occasionally, I hit some balls far.”
The one he hit far on Sunday propelled the Marlins to victory.