Clearly not happy about an abysmal showing the evening before, the Marlins battled their way back to a 9-8 comeback win Thursday afternoon. After managing only two hits Wednesday night, the club smashed four homers and totaled 12 hits Thursday.
The offense got off to a quick start, scoring three runs in the game’s first three innings, including Giancarlo Stanton’s league-leading 47th home run in the third, a solo shot into the wind that gave the slugger his second career 100 RBI season. Manager Don Mattingly pointed out that “the last three times we got thumped, the guys bounced back the next day and scored early.”
Vance Worley could not hold on to the early leads he was given, hurt by two home runs including a three-run shot from Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph. He almost made it through the fourth inning unharmed but gave up two runs on a two-out single to Nick Williams.
The Marlins battled back and shortened the deficit in part because of center fielder Christian Yelich, scoring three runs and hitting a solo home run in the sixth, his 15th of the year. A few batters later, J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run inside-the-park home run to tie the game. Yelich later scored the winning run in the eighth off a Realmuto sacrifice fly.
Despite Wednesday’s loss, the Marlins did not lose any ground in the wild-card race because the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks both suffered losses. They gained half a game following Tuesday’s double-header sweep and with Thursday’s win remain at 5 and a half games of catching the Rockies for the second wild-card spot.
“It changes our trip,” Mattingly said of winning the past two series. “Hopefully it sets the tone for tomorrow’s game.”
There are still plenty of games left for the team to make up that ground, as over half of the Marlins’ remaining games are against teams with losing schedules. This provides ample opportunity, but they must avoid stumbling against teams such as the Phillies, who will be visiting Miami in one week.
More direct opportunities will arrive next month for the team as they host the Milwaukee Brewers in mid-September, who currently are two games ahead of the Marlins in the wild-card standings. Then, in the third and second-to-last series of the season, respectively, the team travels to Arizona and then Colorado. If the Marlins can close the gap in the standings by the time these two series come around, they could end up being the deciding games for the final wild-card spot.
However, that’s still a month away, and after the game Yelich reiterated the Marlins’ mindset of “focusing on the present, being in the mindset of worrying about winning that day or that night, and that’s something we need to continue to do for the rest of the season.”
▪ With his second career inside-the-park home run, J.T. Realmuto became the second Marlins player to have multiple inside-the-park home runs for the team.
▪ Giancarlo Stanton became the third player in Marlins history to reach 100 RBI before September, joining Gary Sheffield and Mike Lowell.
▪ If he manages to hit three more home runs this month, Stanton will tie the National League record for most home runs in August. The record currently is shared by Sammy Sosa and Willie Mays, who had 17 in 2001 and 1965, respectively.