3 keys to walk-off win: speed, Jorge, pitching

July 7th, 2021

MIAMI -- If the Marlins intend to go on a run and force the front office’s hand, they will need more wins like Tuesday night’s 2-1 walk-off victory over the Dodgers in 10 innings at loanDepot park.

scored the winning run after advancing from second on a wild pitch and darting home on a throwing error. It was the first time in franchise history the Marlins had a walk-off win that ended on a non-plate appearance error, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. No team had walked off in such fashion since the Astros did so vs. the A’s on July 23, 2013.

The Marlins, 9-19 in one-run games this season, have narrowly edged the defending World Series champions -- who arrived in Miami riding a nine-game winning streak -- in two straight.

“It was a fantastic finale,” Marte said via an interpreter on the Bally Sports Florida broadcast. “We've got to keep working and battling all the time. I saw the ball going down to the right side of the catcher and went to third base, and it was a bad throw and we won the game.”

Need for speed
Before the decisive play, manager Don Mattingly was surprised Marte hadn’t tried running early in the count during Garrett Cooper’s and Jesús Aguilar’s at-bats. Neither were able to advance Marte. But Blake Treinen’s slider to Miguel Rojas bounced in the dirt, and Will Smith’s throw to third got away from Justin Turner to allow Marte to race home.

The running game has been a focus through the first two games of the series, and understandably so. The Dodgers entered Tuesday having given up 67 steals (most in the Majors), while the Marlins rank second in MLB with 57 stolen bases. In the opener, Miami swiped three bags. Marte stole a pair on Tuesday, and Jazz Chisholm Jr. nearly had one.

Showing off the athleticism
While Smith’s miscue in the 10th led to the game-winning run, Marlins catcher made a spectacular play in the top half of the frame. With the automatic runner at second, Alfaro pounced on a sacrifice-bunt attempt by Chris Taylor and threw to third baseman Jon Berti, who tagged out Smith. Not many catchers could make that play; the exceptions, Mattingly speculated, are Alfaro and the player he was traded for, J.T. Realmuto.

“That was a great play,” Mattingly said. “I mean, instinctive. I felt like he got out of there right away, he had no hesitation of what he wanted to do. That was a great play.”

David Hess, acquired on Saturday in a trade with the Rays, was the benefactor. He became the second Marlins reliever to win his first two appearances with the club, the other being Matt Perisho in 2004.

Return of arms
The game began with back on the mound. On Friday in Atlanta, he was ejected following one pitch that hit Braves leadoff man Ronald Acuña Jr. Since then, there has been a domino effect for the overtaxed relief corps. López allowed one run over four innings against the Dodgers, who made him throw 91 pitches, including 36 in the fourth. Things could get dicey on Wednesday with an expected bullpen game.

High-leverage arms Anthony Bass, Dylan Floro, Richard Bleier and Yimi García, who weren't available in Monday night's 5-4 win, pitched a scoreless sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively. García, who couldn't hold a four-run ninth-inning lead in his last appearance on Sunday, worked out of a jam on Tuesday.

"I think what's been going on with the bullpen is what really hurts me the most, because you can see that lingering effect of a lot of guys pitching back to back. Bleier went three days in a row, and it just hurts me," said López, who struck out eight batters. "I don't like seeing that, so being able to take the mound today, I was really happy about that, but I'm also not satisfied with the fact I only was able to go four innings.

“Obviously [the Dodgers’ lineup is] a good lineup. They were putting good swings on it, but I was just happy to take the mound again today. The bullpen's just been outstanding, lights-out whenever they get the ball. They do an amazing job at inducing weak contact, getting strikeouts, getting out of jams if they happen to be in one. So the bullpen's just been amazing.”