The biggest inning in Miami Marlins history was sparked by the bats of Garrett Cooper and Harold Ramirez.
The Marlins, just three weeks ago on pace for one of the worst offensive seasons in MLB history, continued their transformation into legitimately threatening offensive club in their 16-0 win against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday with the single best inning in franchise history. Miami started the top of the fifth inning with a single by Cooper, then kept pounding away against the Brewers, leading to a chorus of boos from the at Miller Park and eventually a sarcastic standing ovation from the 25,364 in attendance to watch the top team in the National League Central.
The final totals for the highest-scoring inning in team history: 11 runs scored on nine hits, two walks and an error. Three Marlins connected for doubles, including Pablo Lopez. Fifteen batters went to the plate and, at one point, nine straight reached base safely.
“We did a great job today,” slugging third baseman Brian Anderson said. “We were able to really barrel balls, and there’s obviously some luck that goes into that with not hitting right at guys and stuff like that, but we did a good job.”
Cooper, who started the inning with a single, added another in a second at-bat, and scored twice and drove in a run. Ramirez hit an RBI double in one at-bat and drove in another with a groundout in his second. Anderson scored twice and drove in a run despite going hitless. Catcher Jorge Alfaro drove in two runs with a single and later scored before he finally ended the inning, which spanned longer than half an hour, with a strikeout.
Anderson was the only player in the lineup without a hit in the inning and he reached safely with a walk as the second batter. Every player scored at least once and drove in at least one run.
“It’s a whole team effort,” Cooper said. “You don’t want it to stop. That’s definitely something you want to keep going. Eleven runs in an inning — I don’t think it’s been done too many times and just to get everybody up to the plate and drive in runs is pretty crazy.”
Miami (22-36) knocked Chase Anderson from the game after four innings by putting up five runs against the pitcher, so it began the fifth against the bullpen in Milwaukee. Cooper started with a single to center, then Anderson walked and second baseman Starlin Castro struck out. With one out, the parade around the bases began with a double by Ramirez.
Nine straight batters reached base safely. Seven of those connected for hits and three of those hits went for extra bases. A 4-0 lead on the Brewers (34-27) ballooned all the way to 15-0 by the next time Lopez (4-5) stepped on the mound.
By the end of the inning, Cooper, the outfielder limited to 38 games the last two seasons by injuries, was 4 for 4 with his first four-hit game as a Marlin and Ramirez, a rookie outfielder playing in MLB for the first time, had his eighth multi-hit game in 18 career starts. Miami was well on its way to its sixth win in eight games and 12th win in 17.
“Everybody’s doing their thing, but Harold and Coop in our lineup has infused two guys that have really just swung the bats,” manager Don Mattingly said. “On base a lot, driving in runs — the whole thing and kind of consistently giving us that, and then guys around them kind of just filling in and everybody’s rolling all of a sudden.”
The rest of the evening was easy for Lopez, although the first four innings were, too. The starting pitcher scattered just three singles — two by reigning MVP Christian Yelich — across six innings and left the game after throwing only 92 pitches. Lopez struck out seven and walked only one — again, Yelich -- and drove in a run with a double in the fifth
“It’s really fun seeing all the guys keeping the line moving and putting great swings on the ball, getting the barrel to it,” Lopez said. “Pretty fun looking to the dugout and seeing everybody just waving at me, giving fist pumps. It was pretty fun.”
The right-handed pitcher got to pitch the entire game with a lead after the Marlins jumped on Anderson (3-1) immediately. Even before the 11-run inning, Miami’s offense was in the midst of another standout performance. Castro cranked a two-run homer off the righty in the top of the third. Two innings later, Cooper launched a 447-foot solo home run to left. Two pitches later, Anderson made it back-to-back jacks with a 389-foot homer to right.
The boos began then. Two innings later, they wouldn’t stop.
“We’ve been having a pretty good approach for a while now,” Mattingly said. “We started to put some wins together with that. All of a sudden, tonight was just kind of crazy. Starlin gets us on the board and then Coop gets us one, Andy hits one and we were kind of able to just keep going. And that was a crazy inning that one inning there.”