Welcome to the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium, where the Miami Marlins’ rally unfolded — and quickly faded away — on Saturday night.
It begins with nine Marlins batters, seven baserunners, five runs, four Los Angeles Dodgers relievers, two almost grand slams and a game-tying error.
But, like a classic tragedy, the optimism turned on its head when the Dodgers’ Matt Beaty crushed an Elieser Hernandez changeup 395 feet to right-center field in the home half of the inning that gave Los Angeles the lead back for good in an eventual 10-6 Dodgers win.
“Just didn’t have enough today,” Brian Anderson said.
The Marlins (36-60), resilient as they have been all season, could not finish the comeback bid.
But they once again showed they can find a way to contend, even against the National League’s top team.
They trailed the Dodgers by five runs entering that eighth inning, breaking the shutout an inning earlier on a Starlin Castro solo home run off JT Chargois before putting up an impressive performance.
Bryan Holaday’s leadoff single in the eighth chased Chargois from the game and brought Caleb Ferguson to the mound.
Curtis Granderson followed with a double to right field — one he was afforded because shortstop Corey Seager dropped a popup in foul territory earlier in the at-bat — and Yadiel Rivera walked to load the bases. Ferguson’s out. Yimi Garcia is in.
Jorge Alfaro hit a sacrifice fly to right field — which likely would have been a grand slam over the short fence if right fielder Alex Verdugo were not there — for the first run of the inning. Garrett Cooper re-loaded the bases with a walk before Anderson’s two-run double to left-center put the Marlins within two. Garcia then hit Castro in the hand/wrist to load the bases once again. Garcia’s out. Pedro Baez enters the game.
Harold Ramirez’s RBI fielder’s choice brought Cooper home. As second baseman Enrique Hernandez attempted to turn a double play, his throw sailed wide of first base. Anderson scored. Tie game.
It marked the fifth time this year the Marlins scored at least five runs in an inning.
“We got into their bullpen and were able to fight back right there,” Anderson said. “That’s the kind of team we are.”
It temporarily foiled a gem of a performance from Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, who struck out a season-high 10 batters and allowed just three baserunners over six scoreless innings. The eight-time All-Star retired the first 10 Marlins batters he faced — seven by strikeout — before Martin Prado and Cooper hit back-to-back singles in the fourth. They were eventually stranded as Anderson flew out to left and Castro struck out.
It almost salvaged a rough outing from Sandy Alcantara, who surrendered a season-high-tying six earned runs on seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts in five innings. The Dodgers (66-35) quickly opened scoring on Saturday with a Joc Pederson leadoff home run in the first, added three more runs in the third on an Austin Barnes two-run double and Kershaw RBI single, and tacked on two more in the fifth on a Justin Turner home run and Max Muncy RBI double. Their final five runs all came with two outs.
“Sandy missing balls, not being able to get the ball where he wanted to, cost him tonight,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
“It was a bad day,” Alcantara added.
And then, after watching their lead disintegrate, the Dodgers posted a rally of their own against Hernandez, who has moved from the rotation to the bullpen following the All-Star break. A ground-rule double to Seager and walk to Austin Barnes set the stage for Beaty’s go-ahead home run. A Russell Martin RBI single four batters later closed scoring.
“He picked a bad day not to have his best stuff,” Mattingly said.
Miguel Rojas left the game in the fifth inning with a right-shoulder strain. He is day-to-day. He initially suffered the injury during Friday’s loss when he dove for a ground ball.
Rojas said he does not believe the injury is serious, but he felt enough pain each time that he threw that he thought he could potentially compromise the team by staying in. The hope, Rojas said, is that a possible off day or two would be all he needs.