Crushed it! Home runs power Marlins to 5th win in a row

Miami offense takes early BP, puts in extra work ahead of series vs. LA

September 6th, 2023

MIAMI -- The Marlins are fully embracing their first full-season postseason chase in seven years. Following an off-day, Miami’s entire lineup showed up for early batting practice a full four hours before Tuesday night’s first pitch, then later hyped up in the cages with hitting coach Brant Brown. 

That work paid off as the Marlins belted four homers -- including back-to-back eighth-inning jacks from Bryan De La Cruz and Jazz Chisholm Jr. -- in a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers at loanDepot park. De La Cruz’s two-run tater broke a 3-3 deadlock with one out, while Chisholm’s 436-foot blast marked his second tater against a lefty this season.

By winning its fifth straight, Miami kept pace in the National League Wild Card race. During this stretch, the club has gone deep 12 times and has scored six or more runs in each of those games, marking its second such streak this season (June 3-7).

  • Games remaining: vs. LAD (2), at PHI (3), at MIL (4), vs. ATL (3), vs. NYM (3), vs. MIL (3), at NYM (3), at PIT (3)
  • Standings update: The Marlins (71-67) are a half-game behind the Reds (73-68) for the third NL Wild Card spot. They are a half-game ahead of the D-backs (71-68) and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Giants (70-69). Miami would hold the first tiebreaker, based on head-to-head matchups, over Arizona (4-2). The Marlins (19-21, .475) are in line to hold the second tiebreaker (intradivisional record) over the Reds but not the Giants.

“It's amazing to see everybody hitting,” said Chisholm, who collected three hits off lefty pitchers in the series opener. “Everybody's working hard every day. It's September. We have guys going out there every day -- we're out there working together as a team, trying to be as good as we can. Normally right now, everybody's staying inside during BP, staying inside during early work. Our whole team is out there and working, and that's just great to see.

“The whole team, the whole offense was out there for early BP today. That just shows the commitment that these guys have to go into the playoffs and winning.”

Despite five baserunners through the first three innings, the Marlins didn’t get to veteran lefty Clayton Kershaw until Jake Burger’s solo shot to left in the fourth. It marked his first homer at loanDepot park and his 31st of the season (his sixth as a Marlin).

Josh Bell later drilled a then-go-ahead two-run shot to straightaway center to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead in the fifth. It was Bell’s 150th career homer.

“[We] didn't come through with runners in scoring position, but luckily, we slugged tonight,” manager Skip Schumaker said. “That was kind of the story. We took some good at-bats against Kersh -- I think we only had five hits, but we had five walks, too."

Over the next month, every plate appearance matters. Burger and Bell, whose former clubs aren’t positioned to reach the playoffs, are making the most of the opportunity with Miami. They have combined for 15 homers since being acquired ahead of the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline.

“Every single pitch, there's a little adrenaline spike when you run out on the field,” said Burger, who has gone deep four times in his past five games. “From pitch one, you're feeling that adrenaline and knowing that, ‘Hey, we’ve got to take care of the night.’ We're not worried about the end of September or beginning of October. We're just focused on tonight and going out there and being who we are. That's all we can do is just control who we are and not try to get outside of ourselves.”

Left-hander Jesús Luzardo did just that on the mound, recording his third straight quality start by limiting the Dodgers to two runs on four hits over six innings. But he settled for the no-decision after southpaw A.J. Puk surrendered a game-tying solo shot to Chris Taylor in the seventh.

Though the Marlins recently dropped two of three to the Dodgers, who have the NL’s second-best record (84-53), they had a chance to win every game in that series. It goes to show that Miami can hold its own against one of the best.

“We're just trying to play the game as we play every day, a little harder, trying to run hard, trying to play hard every day,” De La Cruz said via interpreter Luis Dorante Jr. “Our goal is to make the playoffs.