The Marlins haven’t had many chances to wrap up close games this season.
And on Saturday night, they let another rare opportunity slip away.
Despite an offensive outburst that gave them a four-run early lead, the Marlins saw it gradually evaporate until Jesus Aguilar homered off Junichi Tazawa in the bottom of the ninth to give the Brewers a 6-5 comeback victory at Miller Park.
The Marlins (5-15) dropped their third in a row and are now 3-12 since opening the season with a four-game split against the Chicago Cubs at home.
Aguilar’s at-bat to lead off the ninth inning lasted 13 pitches as he fouled off seven pitches from Tazawa including three with a full count.
Kyle Barraclough was one out away from successfully protecting a 5-4 lead in the eighth before walking Shaw and Eric Thames. The Brewers tied it when Derek Dietrich failed to catch a pop up off the bat of Eric Sogard in left field, which allowed Shaw to score the tying run.
"I called the ball and I dropped it," Dietrich said. "That one's on me. Unfortunately, that [stinks] because Jose pitched well and Bear [Barraclough] did his job so that one's on me."
Bryan Holaday denied the Brewers the chance to take the lead when he tagged Eric Thames on a great recovery after fielding a throw up the line from shortstop Yadiel Rivera.
“I just caught it, tried to dive and get him if I could,” Holaday said. “Luckily, we were able to get him. That's a tough one. It is what it is. What are you going to do? At least we got the out and are still in the ballgame. So, that happens. We just have to move past it.”
On the Dietrich play, he called off Rivera as the ball drifted into left center.
"It looked like he took charge he just didn’t catch it," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It’s his play. I think it’s his play. He’s got priority there. It’s just one of those plays that’s unfortunate. I’m sure nobody feels worse about it at this point than he does. It’s just one of those plays that gets up there and you call it, you catch it. And 99 out of 100 times or 999 out of 1,000 you’re going to catch that ball, but every once in a while something like that happens."
The Marlins are 1-3 this season in games in which they have led by three or fewer runs in the seventh inning or later.
The Marlins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first two innings on a solo home run by Dietrich and a three-run home run by Lewis Brinson, his third of the season which have all come in this series.
"I like where my swing is at," Brinson said. "Obviously, the home run was great, but I'm kind of getting myself out. I feel like I'm seeing the ball well and trying to hit everything. After the home run, I got a little antsy, I just have to tell myself calm down and swing at my pitch."
The Brewers answered in the bottom of the second with a solo homer by Travis Shaw and chipped away with two more in the fifth before the Marlins took a 5-3 lead on an RBI single by Brian Anderson.
Jose Urena, who went five innings and allowed four runs on four hits and two walks, issued a walk to Domingo Santana to lead off the fifth and he scored three batters later on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Braun.