Credit the decision-makers inside the Marlins dugout — manager Don Mattingly and bench coach Tim Wallach — for crafting the quick-thinking strategy that culminated in Friday’s 8-6 win over the Diamondbacks.
Here’s how it all went down:
With the bases loaded and the Marlins trailing 5-1 in the seventh, Cole Gillespie was sent in to pinch-hit. But when the Diamondbacks summoned Tyler Clippard from the bullpen to take over for Patrick Corbin, Mattingly countered by sending Justin Bour to the plate instead of Gillespie.
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Bour took Clippard deep for a game-tying grand slam, and the Marlins put up three more runs in the inning to complete the comeback. Bour’s blast was the sixth pinch-hit grand slam in Marlins history — and first since 2005 when Jeremy Heremida connected in his first major league at bat.
“It’s just one of those that happens to work out for you,” Mattingly said.
There was good reason why Mattingly turned to Bour in that spot. While Bour hasn’t had great success as a pinch-hitter (he brought a .175 average as one into Friday), he had hit one homer in that role.
And it was off Clippard last season.
“They told me if Clippard comes in, I’m going to be switching with Gillespie,” Bour said. “And then they bring in the righty (Clippard). In that situation, I’m just trying to get the job done. Man on third. Less than two outs. I was up there just trying to get one (run), a sac fly or something.”
Bour did even better.
The comeback relieved Justin Nicolino of what would have been his fourth straight losing decision.
Nicolino was nicked for five runs while allowing a career-high 12 hits.
But it all became largely forgotten after the Marlins’ big seventh inning.
Corbin had retired 11 straight batters entering the seventh when slumping Giancarlo Stanton doubled to lead off the inning. After striking out Chris Johnson, Corbin walked the next two batters — Miguel Rojas and Jeff Mathis — loading the bases with the pitcher’s spot due up.
“I thought those were big at bats as far as putting them in danger and turning the lineup over back to where we could pinch-hit and get back to the top of the order,” Mattingly said of the walks to Rojas and Mathis. “The walks get us in the right spot.”
Arizona manager Chip Hale turned to Clippard, and the roof caved in.
Bour turned on Clippard’s 1-0 change up, sending it down the right field line and over the fence.
“I can’t tell you how much I sat there, ‘oh my gosh, I can’t believe this happened,’” Nicolino said. “For him to come off the bench and hit a pinch-hit grand slam, I was kind of in shock.”
The Marlins didn’t let up there.
Christian Yelich drove in two runs with a double, and Marcell Ozuna singled to score another.
“It’s just one of those innings where everything worked out for us,” Mattingly said.
Brian Ellington was credited with the win while A.J. Ramos recorded his 19th save.