MIAMI -- No matter the situation, or however long it takes, the Marlins have demonstrated they will keep battling. On Wednesday, against the club with the best record in the National League, Miami pushed the Brewers to the limit, and ultimately celebrated in walk-off style.
Starlin Castro slapped an RBI single to left, scoring Garrett Cooper from second, and the Marlins outlasted the Brewers, 5-4, in 12 innings at Marlins Park.
"They have a really good team," Castro said. "They can hit. They have an amazing bullpen, probably the best that we've seen after the Yankees. We battled. We put together a lot of good at-bats. We're fighting."
For the second time in the series and fourth time in their last six home games, the Marlins played extra innings. Miami won both of the extra-inning affairs against Milwaukee and took two of three.
For a franchise that made it clear it is building from the Minor Leagues up, the Marlins were resilient against a Brewers team that paces the National League with a 55-38 record.
"You feel like this team has gained an identity of how we play, or how we need to play to win games," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "That's really to do what we've been doing. That's getting our hits. Moving runners. Trying to get 'em in. We're trying to be aggressive on the bases, and we're pitching pretty good. This is our game."
The youthful Marlins proved pesky against the Brewers, a team that swept them in four games (April 19-22) at Miller Park. In that series, Miami was outscored 30-10. But since then, the Marlins are 34-40. More than the record, the organization is looking for growth.
Cooper led off the 12th with a single off Jorge Lopez. Castro drove a one-out single to left, and third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez waved home Cooper. Christian Yelich made a throw that was off the mark, and Miami had its series win.
"We know Yeli," Mattingly said. "Obviously, he's a really good player. Probably the one downfall of him is he doesn't throw great. He's got a decent arm, but he doesn't get rid of it quick. I know he's working on it. But you've got to challenge there. You can't keep going base to base. You're trying to win the game right there, make them throw you out."
Getting there came with some drama in the ninth.
With the score tied at 4, Miami closer Kyle Barraclough walked the bases loaded, but with two outs, he struck out Yelich on a 2-2 changeup. Barraclough, who has kept his walk totals in check most of the season, had a rocky 32-pitch inning, in which he threw just 14 strikes. Yet, the right-hander also struck out three. The only other time this year Barraclough issued three bases on balls was on April 27 against the Rockies.
The Marlins carried a 4-2 lead into the eighth inning, but the Brewers pulled even on Jesus Aguilar's two-run double off Drew Steckenrider.
"They're better than their record shows," Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw said. "Their lineup is not bad, and they've got a couple guys that can throw a little bit. Their bullpen guys are pretty good, guys that will probably get traded here over the next couple weeks. It's not just a rollover team."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Marlins were able to break through in the 12th and win it, but in the top of the inning, there was some suspense.
Elieser Hernandez worked out of a first-and-second jam by striking out Lopez, who was batting for himself because the Brewers opted not to use their remaining position player, backup catcher Erik Kratz. At the time, Aguilar was at the plate with a runner on first and two outs. Mattingly made a mound visit, and the Marlins opted to pitch around Aguilar, throwing four pitches out of the zone for the walk.
Rather than go with the pinch-hitter, Lopez batted for himself.
"We didn't think they'd pitch anybody else," Mattingly said of the strategy to pitch around the All-Star Aguilar, and face Lopez.
The Brewers had their top prospect, Corbin Burnes, who threw two innings on Tuesday in the bullpen, as a decoy.
"That's one of their top prospects out there, Burnes," Mattingly said. "They used him two innings last night. They're not going to go back to back, he's a starter."
Brian Anderson went 2-for-4 and he now has 105 hits on the season, the most of any MLB rookie before the All-Star break since Corey Seager of the Dodgers also had 105 in 2016.
HE SAID IT
"We're playing these extra-inning games for a reason, because we're playing well enough to be in ballgames. We're getting better and better every single day, I feel like. It's one of those things, we'll take 'em. It's better than losing in nine. Guys keep grinding through at-bats and grinding through innings, and it's starting to show. We're getting more in the W column." -- Marlins starter Dan Straily, who gave up two runs (one earned) in six innings
After an off-day, the Marlins begin a three-game series Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Phillies at Marlins Park. Wei-Yin Chen, who will be on the mound for Miami, has dramatically different home and road splits. In six starts at Marlins Park, his ERA is 1.89. But in eight road starts, it is 10.47. Chen is 1-3 (4.02 ERA) in six career appearances vs. the Phillies, who will counter with Jacob Arrieta (6-6, 3.47 ERA).