Isaac Galloway found out Monday night that he would be getting another chance in the major leagues, with the Miami Marlins picking up his contract from their Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans.
From a personal standpoint, Galloway’s 2019 Marlins debut went about as good as it could, with the 29-year-old outfielder making a pair of highlight-reel plays in right field and recording a hit in the fifth inning.
But Galloway’s defensive heroics could not make up for another poor offensive showing. The Marlins lost 4-0 to the Cubs on Tuesday night after recording just seven hits and only getting one runner into scoring position. The Marlins (4-14) have now lost five consecutive series after opening the year with a series split against the Colorado Rockies.
Pablo Lopez drew the loss after giving up two earned runs — an RBI single by Daniel Descalso in the third and a bases-loaded RBI groundout by David Bote in the fourth — over five innings of work. He gave up five hits and an intentional walk and struck out six.
Javier Baez added a third run with a solo home run off Adam Conley in the eighth, and Ben Zobrist closed scoring for the Cubs (7-9) with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
It could have been worse if not for Galloway.
In the fifth, with Descalso on second base, Galloway caught a fly ball from Kris Bryant and fired a perfect throw 254 feet to Brian Anderson at third base for the double play. Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging to end the inning.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly called the catch and throw a “textbook” play.
“When you’re able to get behind the ball and get your momentum going toward third base, it’s a lot easier,” Galloway said. “I was able to get everything going.”
Two innings later, Galloway made a running grab in right-center field to rob Bryant of an extra-base hit that likely would have scored another run.
“I felt the warning track was getting pretty close to the fence, but I just made a last-second reach and was able to make the catch,” Galloway said.
The Marlins had a chance to tie the game in the eighth. After Anderson singled with two outs and Starlin Castro walked on four pitches, Jorge Alfaro belted a pitch to left-center field that died on the warning track for the final out of the inning.
A Martin Prado groundout, Galloway flyout and Austin Dean groundout in the ninth sealed the loss.
To make room for Galloway, the Marlins optioned JT Riddle to Triple-A New Orleans.
Galloway, who made his major-league debut last season after 11 years in the minors, comes to the Marlins after leading the Baby Cakes in batting average (.297), hits (11), runs, doubles (4), home runs (4), extra-base hits (8), slugging (.730), OPS (1.080), and total bases (27) in 11 games.
As for Riddle, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the decision to option him was made in order to give him a chance to get consistent at-bats instead of platooning at shortstop with Miguel Rojas. In 15 games with the Marlins, Riddle hit .156 (5 for 32) with two home runs and three RBI while striking out 15 times.
The Marlins also recalled left-handed reliever Jarlin Garcia and placed right-handed reliever Austin Brice (gastroenteritis) on the 10-day Injured List.
Garcia made three relief outings in Triple A, giving up two earned runs over 4 1/3 innings with five strikeouts. He provides a fresh arm for a bullpen that has been taxed over the last two games.
Alfaro cleaning up
Alfaro returned to the lineup on Tuesday and batted in the cleanup spot for the first time this season.
Alfaro came into Tuesday hitting a team-best .316 among regular starters. He’s also tied for the team lead in RBI (six) and home runs (three) and is one of the few players on the Marlins’ roster with true power potential. According to Statcast, Alfaro came into Tuesday making hard contact — defined as a batted ball with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph — on 60.9 percent of balls hit in play, a rate that ranks seventh in MLB.
“It seemed like the best combination today with the guys,” Mattingly said pregame. “He’s been swinging the bat well. We’ve been happy with the way he’s been swinging. Hopefully just his growth continues.”