Miami Marlins

Offense once again hard to find as Marlins open homestand with loss to Phillies

Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara (22) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning of a baseball game at Marlins Park in Miami on Friday, April 12, 2019.
Miami Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara (22) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning of a baseball game at Marlins Park in Miami on Friday, April 12, 2019.

The Miami Marlins’ first game back home on Friday after a frustrating road trip played out like most of the six games before it in Atlanta and Cincinnati.

Consistent offense was hard to find and one key opportunity was enough to put the Marlins in a hole they couldn’t overcome.

The final result: A 9-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies to begin their nine-game homestand.

The Marlins (3-11) have now lost five in a row and have been outscored 34-5 in that span. They managed just five hits and only had runners in scoring position twice on the night.

The Phillies (8-4) did the bulk of their damage in the third inning, scoring five runs on six consecutive hits and sending 10 batters to the plate against Sandy Alcantara.

After Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura recorded back-to-back one out singles to put runnters on the corners, Bryce Harper opened scoring with an RBI single to right. A Rhys Hoskins RBI double, J.T. Realmuto RBI single and Odubel Herrera two-RBI double followed.

Alcantara lasted five innings on Friday, giving up six earned runs on 11 hits and two walks while striking out six.

Alcantara opened the season with eight shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies. In his two starts since then, he has given up eight earned runs over nine innings in a no-decision against the Atlanta Braves and the loss on Friday.

The Phillies added another run in the fifth and then three more in the eighth on a McCutchen home run to left-center field off relief pitcher Austin Brice.

Dean’s debut

Prior to Friday’s game, the Marlins called up outfielder Austin Dean and optioned Peter O’Brien to Triple-A New Orleans.

His season debut wasn’t pretty defensively.

Dean misplayed two balls in the third inning that attributed to the Phillies’ five-run output and had a miscommunication with second baseman Starlin Castro on a popup by Cesar Hernandez to shallow right field that fell between the two and allowed Realmuto to score from third.

He did, however, plate the Marlins’ first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to score Jorge Alfaro, who led off the inning with a single. It snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak for the Marlins.

Dean, the Marlins’ No. 26 overall prospect according to MLBPipeline, is the Marlins’ third starting right fielder in the first 14 games of the season.

The 25-year-old and Marlins minor-league player of the year makes his return to the big leagues after opening the season hitting .375 with a pair of doubles and six RBI in seven games at the Triple A level. Dean was a September call-up in 2018 and hit .221 with four home runs, 14 RBI and 16 runs scored in that span. He batted .326 with nine home runs and 54 RBI over 87 games in Triple-A before playing the last month in Miami.

“Last year, it seemed like he turned the corner as far as hitting with the year he had,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said before the game. “He backed it up with a good spring (.364 batting average, 7 RBI in 33 at-bats).”

O’Brien, who was called up on March 31 after Opening Day right fielder Garrett Cooper went on the Injured List with a right calf strain, went 3 for 27 (.111 batting average) with 14 strikeouts over nine games.

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Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.