MIAMI -- In the time it took for Marlins outfielder Corey Dickerson to race toward the left-center gap and make a run-saving catch in Tuesday night’s 6-2 victory over the Rockies, his mind was running just as fast as his legs. That’s because toward the beginning of the season, the former Gold Glove Award winner missed a similar ball by three or four feet. That play popped up in his head as he cut toward the warning track at loanDepot park.
With the Rockies ahead 1-0 and looking to add on with a runner at first in the third inning, Garrett Hampson barreled a pitch. After covering 69 feet, Dickerson leapt and reached his arm out over his shoulder to make the catch in front of the wall. Raimel Tapia, who was nearly at third, had no chance of getting back to first in time as the Marlins' relay executed the inning-ending double play.
“I've been starting to feel a little better physically,” Dickerson said. “Whenever the ball was hit, I thought I had a pretty good read on it, but it's crazy. … As I was running, I said, ‘I'm going to put my head down for a few steps and run to the spot,’ and as I looked back up I could see it. Thought I could get it, and I was able to keep my back eye on the ball and make a play.”
Dickerson followed the catch with a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom half of the frame to support Pablo López, who went a career-high eight innings. The knock came on a two-strike slider well out of the zone that he caromed off the right-center wall. Dickerson entered the at-bat with two hits over his last 19 at-bats.
During the Marlins' 1-8 road trip, which included a detour to Boston for a makeup game on Monday, the lineup continually missed out on the clutch hit (10-for-75, .133 average with RISP). Miami's four-run third was its highest output in a frame since the seventh in a 9-6 win over Philadelphia on May 24.
“Everything in that inning,” manager Don Mattingly said. “When Corey got up there, kind of just thought, ‘OK, he makes that kind of catch, he's either going to hit a double or a homer right here.’ He ends up hitting a ball in the gap and gets us those two. We got the one with [Jesús Aguilar] to get it tied back up, but that was obviously a big moment right there. And then [Adam Duvall] next pitch gets us another one. Really from there, Pablo kind of took charge.”
López retired 16 of the final 18 batters, starting with Dickerson’s catch on the deep flyout. In two of the past three contests, Miami has received eight innings from its starter. Both have been wins. Sunday’s gem from Sandy Alcantara snapped an eight-game skid.
“I'd rank it as one of the most fun ones,” López said. “It's always fun to pitch as deep as you can, especially into the eighth inning. I've pitched into the seventh quite a few times, so having the opportunity to go out for the eighth, it's a good feeling. It's something that I've always wanted, to go as deep as I can. So being able to do so, I take a lot of pride in that. I'm really happy about that, and I was feeling good and hoping for one more, but I understand every decision that's being made. Just happy I was able to help the team and the bullpen out tonight.”
Tuesday ended a stretch in which the Marlins played 29 of 42 games on the road, including back-to-back-to-back three-city trips. It also marked Miami’s second win in its past 11 games.
The 32-year-old Dickerson’s heroics came at the perfect time. He was selected twice in the MLB Draft by the Rockies and spent his first three Major League seasons in Colorado. During batting practice on Tuesday, he caught up with his former ballclub.
“When things are going bad, this game has a cruel way of keeping you down,” Dickerson said. “You think you're getting up and they kick you right back down. You know you have to be resilient, optimistic. You have to have good teammates around you, because this game is cruel. You can't be weak-minded to play it. You've got to come here every single day and give the team what you've got. That's all we can do, keep showing up, have fun and support each other.”