Miami Marlins

Four-plus hours, 15 pitchers and a Marlins series-opening loss against the Brewers

Miami Marlins’ Robert Dugger, top, pitches to Milwaukee Brewers’ Eric Thames during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Miami Marlins’ Robert Dugger, top, pitches to Milwaukee Brewers’ Eric Thames during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) AP

It took more than four hours, had 15 pitchers step to the mound and saw the Miami Marlins twice attempt to rally out of an early hole.

It ended just before midnight on Monday, with the Milwaukee Brewers taking the first game of a four-game set 8-3 at Marlins Park.

The series against the Brewers is the beginning of a rough 20-game stretch for the Marlins to close out the year. Seventeen of those 20 games are against teams that are in the playoff hunt.

The Marlins (51-92) saw any hope of a comeback fade away in the seventh when the Brewers (75-68) put up four runs on a Trent Grisham two-run triple and a Yasmani Grandal two-run home run against Jose Quijada.

That came after the Marlins scored three runs over the fifth and sixth innings in an attempt to get back into a game they trailed from the start.

Grisham came a home run short of hitting for the cycle.

Monday was the Marlins’ third nine-inning home game that lasted at least four hours.

Dugger’s start

Robert Dugger’s command eluded him on Monday, and it resulted in the shortest start of his brief Marlins career.

Dugger barely made it through three innings against the Brewers and needed 77 pitches to record just nine outs.

The 24-year-old’s final line in his fourth MLB start: Two earned runs on four hits and four walks with three strikeouts. Less than half of his pitches (37 of 77) went for strikes.

It was a step back from Dugger’s past two starts, during which he gave up just five runs (two earned) over 13 innings.

But all things considered: It could have been much worse.

The Brewers, who came into Monday’s series opener two games out of the National League wild card, loaded the bases in both the first and third innings against Dugger.

They only came away with two first-inning runs.

Walks to Yasmani Grandal and Eric Thames with a Christian Yelich single sandwiched in between loaded the bases with one out and prompted a mound visit. Lorenzo Cain’s single to center drove in the first run. A Cory Spangenberg RBI groundout gave the Brewers the early 2-0 edge.

The Brewers loaded the bases with two outs on a Cain double, Spangenberg walk and Travis Shaw walk. Two pitches later, Dugger got Hernan Perez to fly out to center and get out of the jam.

Cooper’s catch

Garrett Cooper robbed Perez of a run-scoring hit in the fifth with a diving catch in right field.

Perez’s line drive hit off Tayron Guerrerro had a 63 percent chance of falling for a hit, according to Statcast. Instead, Cooper, who had a 10 percent chance of making the catch according to Statcast, made the play to strand Cain at third base.

Berti Ball

If you want a clear-cut example of how Jon Berti can make an impact on the bases, look at what he did in the sixth inning.

The speedy utilityman, starting in center field for the Marlins on Monday, ripped a line drive to shallow left center and turned a routine single into a double. This put runners on second and third.

Miguel Rojas’ single to left field two batters later — his third hit of the night at that point — scored both Berti and Harold Ramirez to cut the Marlins’ deficit to 4-3.

Grandal’s homer

Grandal, a Miami Springs High alumnus and former Miami Hurricanes standout, hit a solo home run in the seventh — his 27th home run of the year — to give the Brewers an 8-3 lead.

Jordan McPherson covers the Miami Marlins and high school sports for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and covered the Gators athletic program for five years before joining the Herald staff in December 2017.