The Marlins came up big at the plate thanks to Adam Duvall's four RBIs, but after the Braves rallied for four runs in the ninth to push the game into extras, pitcher Max Fried hit a pinch-hit walk-off single to send Miami to an 8-7 loss in 10 innings on Sunday afternoon in the series finale at Truist Park.
“I really was surprised that he swung the bat there," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "But he's actually a pretty good hitter."
In the top of the ninth, the Marlins put up a three-run rally thanks to a leadoff homer from Sandy León and a two-run homer from Jesús Aguilar, his 13th of the season. However, in the bottom of the ninth, the Braves got four timely hits off Yimi García, capped off by a Ronald Acuña Jr. sacrifice fly to tie the game at 7-7.
“We played good defense, got some runs in a game that was kind of a back-and-forth game. We were able to get some insurance there in the ninth, and so obviously you feel good about bringing your closer in there,” said Mattingly.
Following Sunday’s matchup, the Marlins now have 19 one-run losses in 2021 and have had a lead in six of them.
“Guys aren't taking it too well obviously, [since] we lost. But our bullpen has been outstanding this entire year,” said starter Zach Thompson. “So it's just one of those days that, you know, it just kind of sucks and it really hurts. But we're gonna get right back to it. We know that we can trust those guys on any given day.”
Down one run in the top of the sixth with two runners on, Duvall and the Marlins knew this was their chance to take back the momentum. On a 1-0 count, Duvall hit a towering 433-foot home run over the left-field wall to give Miami a two-run lead over Atlanta.
Despite Duvall wearing a different jersey this season, he has felt right at home in Truist Park. Coming into Sunday’s matchup, Duvall was hitting .285 against the Braves with four home runs and 11 RBIs.
On Sunday, Duvall went 3-for-4 with four RBIs against his former team. With another multihit day under his belt, 16 of his last 26 hits have gone for extra bases. In that stretch, Duvall has had five doubles and 11 home runs. He leads the NL and ranks sixth in the Majors with 60 RBIs. This is also his 13th multi-RBI game of the year.
“Obviously, these are tough losses on your club. For everybody in there, it's a punch in the gut,” said Mattingly. “You lose the game with a four-run lead, and you've been battling all day. This is obviously a tough one to take. There's no getting it back.”
Following Friday’s ejection of Pablo López, the Marlins were put in a tough situation regarding their bullpen. However, in his fifth start of the season, Thompson took the mound and pitched an impressive six innings, taking some of the pressure off the ‘pen.
“I thought he was good. Again, he's showing us consistency in a pitch mix that gives him some weapons. I’d say [a] really good outing,” said Mattingly.
Thompson was rolling through the first two innings, but in the bottom of the third, Acuña hit his 23rd home run to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. However, following Acuña’s homer, Thompson responded by allowing just two hits over the next three innings.
Thompson was replaced by Richard Bleier in the bottom of the seventh, ending his day allowing three runs on five hits and one walk through six frames, striking out six.
“Now I don't have to necessarily strictly look at scouting reports. I can look back at my own footage and see what I've been doing, and then realize how I can make certain pitches better or throw certain pitches in certain counts. So, I'm definitely growing,” said Thompson.
Coming into Sunday’s matchup, the Marlins were one game below .500 all-time on the Fourth of July, but with the series-finale loss to the Braves, they fell to 13-15. With Sunday’s loss, the Marlins are now 7-19 in one-run games this season, behind only the D-backs for the worst such record in the Majors.