They may be in a scrum for last place and the National League’s worst overall record. But one thing the Marlins have shown lately is they’re anything but pushovers.
Thanks to their most explosive inning in nearly year, the Marlins knocked off the Phillies on Sunday to enter the All-Star break on a high note. Their 10-5 victory gave them their second straight series win over a first-place team after taking care of Milwaukee earlier in the week.
Heck, it even pushed the Marlins percentage points ahead of the Mets at the bottom of the National League East, something the Marlins can rest on for the next four days while they’re not playing.
The Marlins, who have gone 21-18 since June 5, closed out the “first half” by winning eight of their past 12 series.
“I like our spirit and this game was a pretty good indication (of that),” Mattingly said in summing up the first half. “The only thing really not to like is our record.”
Sunday’s win put an exclamation on their recent success.
The Marlins were trailing 5-0 entering the fifth when the bats came to life. Cameron Maybin crushed a 429-foot home run into the Budweiser bar area, Brian Anderson hit a three-run shot, and the Marlins sent 13 to the plate in their biggest single-inning outburst since the 2015 season.
“Anytime you have a deficit like that,you’re not trying to get it all back at once,” Anderson said. “It’s awesome it happened that time.”
The eight runs were the most scored by the Marlins in an inning since scoring nine against the Rangers last season in Texas, and the most scored inside Marlins Park since they put up eight against the Red Sox on Aug. 12, 2015.
The team record for most runs in an inning is 10.
“It was crazy,” Anderson said. “It started off with Cam’s bomb. That just kind of got us going. And it seemed like we kept getting our pitches and hitting them. It seemed like nobody was missing anything.”
It was a nice finish for a Marlins team that many figured would lose 100 games after trading off Giancarlo Stanton and a host of others. And they might still yet get to triple-digit defeats. They are currently on pace to go 66-96.
“(Derek) Jeter addressed this in spring training and nobody believed it,” veteran Martin Prado said of Jeter’s positive outlook at the time. “But now the second part of the season is when we’re going to know how far this team can go. It’s going to be exciting to see the second half.”
But the Marlins have played much better of late with a large cast of rookies and younger players. They’re making few of the mistakes the Phillies committed during the series, from third baseman Maikel Franco throwing a “souvenir” ball to a fan in the seats on Saturday on a play that was not yet dead to first baseman Carlos Santana losing track of the outs in the disastrous fifth for the Phillies.
With one out and the Phillies clinging to a rapidly evaporating 5-4 lead, Santana fielded a routine ground ball, nonchalantly stepped on the bag rather than throw to second for the force there, and thinking it was the third out of the inning, began heading toward the Phillies dugout. But it was only the second out, and the Marlins scored four more runs in the inning after that.
Overshadowed by the Marlins’ offensive showing was the performance turned in by the bullpen. After starter Jose Urena gave up five runs in the fourth, the bullpen took over and did not allow a hit or run the rest of the way.
Dan Straily will make the first start for the Marlins coming out of the All-Star break when Miami travels to St. Petersburg to face the Rays on Friday.
The rest of the rotation will line up as follows: Pablo Lopez (at Tampa on Saturday), Trevor Richards (at Tampa on July 22); Jose Urena (vs. Braves on July 23); Wei-Yin Chen (vs. Braves on July 24).