Jordan Yamamoto hadn’t struggled so far in his Major League career. He didn’t give up more than three hits in any of his first five MLB starts. He only allowed four earned runs in his first 29 innings with the Miami Marlins. In all but one outing, he made it through five innings with relative ease.
The challenge was all new for the rising-star rookie Tuesday against the San Diego Padres. Yamamoto cruised through the opening frame and the second inning turned into a gauntlet. In the second inning alone, Yamamoto gave up three hits to match the most for any single game in his career. He gave up two earned runs to match the most for any single game in his career. His pitch count climbed all the way to 52. Still, he made it all the way through five innings with just the two earned runs, enough for the Marlins to open a three-game series with a 12-7 rout in Miami.
“He looked like he was a little rusty. His last couple innings I thought got better,” manager Don Mattingly said. “It was good to see him bounce back in that fourth and fifth, and kind of start to look like himself again.”
Even with the near-disaster second inning, Yamamoto went five innings, allowing four hits, two walks and two earned runs, plus a third unearned. He struck out four batters and left the Marlins (35-57) with a 7-3 lead on the Padres (45-49) when he exited after 99 pitches. Throw out the second inning and it was an undeniable gem for the starting pitcher: four shutout innings with one hit and one walk on 66 pitches.
On Tuesday, Miami’s offense afforded Yamamoto the luxury of one dud inning. Brian Anderson gifted the starter an immediate 3-0 lead with a 440-foot, three-run homer off starting pitcher Logan Allen to send the 8,151 at Marlins Park into early jubilation. Even after Yamamoto let the lead disintegrate into a 3-3 tie with his 33-pitch second inning, Miami gave him another lead to work with with a three-hit, four-run inning second of its own. The buffer gave Yamamoto enough time to regroup for another encouraging performance.
The All-Star break can always present a challenge for pitchers. Yamamoto was no exception. Pitching for the first time since July 5, Yamamoto struggled with his command. He threw six off-speed pitches in the first inning and only three went for strikes. San Diego made the first adjustment and sat on his fastball.
“I couldn’t get the off-speed over,” Yamamoto said. “Curveball, slider — the money-makers in the first five outings — I couldn’t really get them over, so from there they were sitting fastball and I gave it to them, they were hitting it.”
It started with two singles, then a walk and another single to score two. After an RBI groundout, Anderson’s three-run homer was entirely negated.
On Tuesday, one inning wasn’t just a blip for the Marlins. Miami’s second inning began with a walk, a single, a sacrifice bunt and another walk to load the bases, and outfielders Harold Ramirez and Garrett Cooper handled the rest. Ramirez hit his second double of the game off Allen (2-2) to score and Cooper followed with a single down the first-base line for two more runs.
Yamamoto started the second with a walk and a single, and then he settled down. The right-handed pitcher set down the final eight batters he faced in order. He notched his third and fourth strikeouts by carving through the bottom of San Diego’s order, then finished out his five innings with a 10-pitch frame against the Padres’ imposing top of the order. The 1-2-3 trio of Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado combined to go 0 for 8 with two strikeouts, and one walk against Yamamoto. Tatis, one of the few rookies more impressive than Yamamoto this season, went 0 for 3 with one of the strikeouts against the righty.
“He got his pitch count up really fast and was still able to give us five innings, so I kind of talked to him about it,” Anderson said. “He did a good job of coming back from that rough inning.”
This and that
▪ Austin Brice is heading to the 10-day injured list with a right forearm flexor strain. Fellow relief pitcher Tayron Guerrero, who had been on the IL since late June with a blister on his right middle finger, was activated in Brice’s place.
▪ A pair of Marlins pitchers threw bullpen sessions Tuesday in Miami. Relief pitcher Drew Steckenrider, who has been on the 60-day IL since May with a right flexor strain, threw 15 fastballs. Starting pitcher Pablo Lopez, who has been on the IL since June with a right shoulder strain, threw 20 pitches in his session.
▪ Martin Prado continued his rehab stint with Double A Jacksonville on Tuesday. Making his third appearance for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Prado went 1 for 1 with three walks. The corner infielder has been on the IL since June with a right hamstring injury.
▪ Chad Wallach suffered another setback in his return from a concussion, which has kept him out since May. The catcher was returned from his rehab stint with Triple A New Orleans due to eye fatigue. No new timetable has been set.
▪ Starting pitcher Jose Urena, who has been on the 60-day IL since June after suffering a herniated disk, finally began his throwing progression Monday. Jon Berti, who contributed to Miami primarily as a second and third baseman before sustaining an oblique injury, is continuing with his hitting, running and throwing progressions.