The Miami Marlins have been in this position before this season — more times than they probably wished.
Having to play from behind. Having to put the game in their offense’s hand. Having to string together enough big plays to rally.
They trailed the Pittsburgh Pirates by four runs after the first inning Thursday.
But the Marlins, like they have done a few times before, clawed their way back and defeated the Pirates 10-7 at PNC Park to clinch the three-game series. The Marlins (50-89) won the first game of the series 5-4 in 10 innings before dropping the second game of the set 6-5 in walk-off fashion on Wednesday.
It started with Elieser Hernandez’s rough first inning that put the Marlins in an early hole. Ten Pirates batters came to the plate, seven reached base safely and five scored. The last two runs came on an Isan Diaz fielding error when he made a bad throw on pitcher Dario Agrazal’s slow-rolling ground ball. Hernandez only made it through three innings, which matches his shortest outing as a starter this season.
And then, the rally began.
There was Harold Ramirez’s second-inning solo home run — his third home run in his last six games — that cut the Marlins’ deficit to 5-2.
There was the four-run rally in the fifth that gave the Marlins the lead for good. A Neil Walker RBI groundout with the bases loaded and no outs started the scoring. A Diaz two-run single to shallow left tied the game. And a pair of Pirates defensive miscues on a Harold Ramirez groundball to third allowed Jorge Alfaro to score the go-ahead run.
Miami tacked on a pair of insurance runs in both the sixth and eighth innings.
There was reliever Brian Moran’s emotional MLB debut in the fourth inning, one in which he made history by facing — and striking out — his brother Colin Moran (a former Marlins’ first-round pick). The Morans are the first siblings in MLB history to face each other in a pitcher-batter scenario with one of the brothers making his debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Brian Moran earned the win.
There was Walker’s clutch night in the ballpark he once called home. Walker, a Pittsburgh native who spent the first half of his MLB career with the Pirates, went 2 for 4 with three RBI and a run scored. His first-inning single opened scoring and a pair of RBI groundouts in the fifth and sixth contributed to Miami’s rally.
There were six strong innings from the bullpen, holding the Pirates (61-79) off the board until Bryan Reynolds and Josh Bell hit solo home runs off Jarlin Garcia in the ninth.
And, in the end, there was a win.
Hurricane Dorian donations
The Miami Marlins and Miami Marlins Foundation will be holding a relief drive during their upcoming homestand against the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers to help those in the Bahamas who were impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
Donations will be accepted on the East and West Plaza at Marlins Park beginning two hours prior to first pitch each day.
Needed items include water, canned goods, can openers, mosquito spray, sunscreen diapers, baby formula, first aid items, flashlights, batteries and small generators.
Fans can also donate $1 at any Marlins Park concession and round up their purchases and any Marlins Park retail stores. The Miami Marlins Foundation will match any donations.