There were two scorched line drives reminiscent of Giancarlo Stanton’s signature power that many Marlins’ fans still miss.
But neither of those hits left the yard Tuesday night in the former Marlins’ slugger’s first game back in Miami since being traded to the New York Yankees.
His new team, however, found a way to grind out a victory in 12 innings as the Yankees beat the Marlins 2-1 in front of a crowd of 26,275 – the largest at Marlins Park since Opening Day.
Facing reliever Javy Guerra, Stanton struck out in the top of the 12th with runners on first and second and no outs. But after Guerra hit Aaron Hicks with a pitch to load the bases, Miguel Andujar’s sacrifice fly drove in Kyle Higashioka with the eventual winning run.
The Marlins (50-77) loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning and did so again in the 11th with no outs, but failed to score each time. The loss was the Marlins’ second to the Yankees (79-46) in three meetings this season.
“We had our shots and didn’t take advantage,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
The Yankees’ bullpen hung on despite losing closer Aroldis Chapman, who called for the team trainer and exited the game due to left knee pain after throwing the first six pitches of the bottom of the 12th inning and walking Isaac Galloway.
Chapman has been dealing with left knee tendinitis this season.
Tommy Kahnle picked up his fourth career save, and the Yankees sealed the outcome when Austin Romine threw out Galloway trying to steal at second.
“We felt like he had a good jump on one before and we’re just trying to get him into scoring position,” Mattingly said.
Brian Anderson led off the 11th with a walk and he moved to third on a single by Derek Dietrich. New York reliever A.J. Cole loaded the bases when he intentionally walked Starlin Castro after four pitches led to a 3-1 count. But after Yadiel Rivera grounded into a force out at the plate, Cole struck out JT Riddle and Magneuris Sierra popped out to third to end the inning.
J.T. Realmuto led off the ninth with a walk. Brian Anderson followed with a single to right field that allowed Realmuto to reach third. Yankees reliever Chad Green struck out Derek Dietrich and Austin Dean after an intentional walk to Castro. Riddle grounded into a force out at second.
The Marlins went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
“I was one of those guys that struck out with the bases loaded,” Riddle said. “All I had to do was hit a fly ball and the game is over. Especially things have been going well for me in that situation, but I let everybody down.”
Pablo Lopez tossed six innings for the Marlins and gave up seven hits, but limited the damage to one run as he struck out four and walked one on 89 pitches. Lopez has gone five or more innings in all nine of his starts since debuting on June 30, and bounced back from a rough outing Aug. 13 in Atlanta when he gave up five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
“Limiting damage is very important as a starter and you have to stay true to what your strengths are,” Lopez said. “Every pitch is important and you have to execute and stay focused.”
Stanton ripped the game’s first hit – a 117.3 mph line drive past a diving Brian Anderson to left field in the first inning.
He later came about two feet away from recording career home run No. 300 when he beamed a 113.8 mph line drive off the left field fence for a double in the fifth.
The Yankees’ first run came in the fourth inning when Lopez gave up three hits including a single by Neil Walker that scored Andujar.
Dean tied the game in the fifth with a 410-foot drive landed on the Marlins Park home run sculpture and would be Miami’s only hit until Riddle led off the eighth with a single off reliever Dellin Betances. But the Marlins stranded him at third after Betances struck out Miguel Rojas two batters later and induced Rafael Ortega to fly out.
It was Dean’s second home run since making his major-league debut Wednesday in Atlanta.
“We definitely had an opportunity to win the game and had a little bit of jitters at first,” Dean said. “I’m still adjusting to the pitching up here, but I think I’m handling myself pretty well for the most part.”