It is baseball’s ultimate high wire act with no safety net, and Bryan Morris on Tuesday survived it without harm.
With the score tied and his injured groin throbbing with pain, Morris wiggled out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth inning without giving up a run.
One inning later, Casey McGehee and Marcell Ozuna hit back-to-back homers as the Marlins stunned the Brewers in one of the most electric finishes of the season for Miami, 6-3.
It wouldn’t have happened if Morris hadn’t beaten the odds.
Statistics have shown that when the bases are loaded with no outs, at least one run ends up scoring 82 percent of the time. In other words, Morris had about an 18 percent chance of squirming out of the predicament.
“It’s one of those things where nobody in the stadium, or anybody watching the game, expects you to get out of that situation without any runs scoring,” Morris said.
But Morris did.
With the Marlins infield playing in, Morris got Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez to hit weak grounders to third that McGehee turned into force-outs at the plate before ending the inning on a Scooter Gennett fly ball to right.
“You get a ball put in play, the majority of the time the runner at third is scoring,” Morris said. “And getting three outs without getting a double play — and without them scoring from third base — definitely makes it more unrealistic.”
It was the second time this season that a Marlins pitcher has successfully worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam. Reliever Mike Dunn pulled it off this season against the Nationals.
Morris almost pulled it off once before, only to be denied by a controversial ruling.
“Well I thought I did earlier in the year against Cincinnati, but we had that home plate call,” he said. “That call at the plate would have been the third out.”
It was Morris who was on the mound for the Marlins on July 31 when they thought they had thrown out Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart at the plate for what would have been the third out of the inning.
But replay officials determined that catcher Jeff Mathis was blocking the lane to the plate, and Cozart was ruled safe under baseball’s home-plate collision rule designed to protect catchers. The ensuing uproar prompted league officials to amend the rule Tuesday.
Morris’ Houdini act on Tuesday likely helped to fire up the Marlins, who won in the ninth on McGehee’s two-run homer and a solo blast by Ozuna.
“That’s definitely a momentum changer,” Morris said. “When Casey hit that home run, the dugout erupted. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a dugout that got that loud.”
Morris has been playing with a sore groin.
“It’s one of those situations where it’s the end of the year, we’re trying to make a push,” he said. “So I’m going to do everything I can to get on the field. I’m the ultimate competitor and I’m going to do whatever it takes to win, and if means playing banged up a little bit, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Morris said he sensed pain during Tuesday’s eighth, but endured.
“I think the magnitude of the inning kind of covered it up a little bit,” he said. “I was pretty sore after the game was over. Adrenaline is the best natural drug there is. You can do a lot of things if you’ve got adrenaline. That’s how we play so many games a year. Adrenaline takes over and it kind of washes away your aches and pains.”
And a successful escape act doesn’t hurt, either.
Marlins RHPNathan Eovaldi
(6-10, 4.19) at Milwaukee Brewers RHPMike Fiers
(5-2, 2.03), 8:10 p.m., Miller Park.
Marlins RHPHenderson Alvarez
(10-6, 2.88) at Philadelphia Phillies LHPCole Hamels
(8-7, 2.56), 7:05 p.m., Citizens Bank Park.