Dietrich's clutch homer can't save Marlins
Hits ninth-inning blast before Chicago walks off; Nolasco goes 7 2/3
CHICAGO -- Even when the Marlins finally produced the big hit they were looking for, the results still didn't fall in their favor.
Derek Dietrich's game-tying, ninth-inning solo shot gave Miami a pulse, but the home run only prolonged the inevitable in a 2-1 White Sox win at U.S. Cellular Field.
The game lasted just four pitches into the bottom of the ninth, as White Sox outfielder Dewayne Wise hit a leadoff double off Marlins reliever Ryan Webb and Conor Gillaspie followed with a walk-off RBI single to end Miami's hopes at a come-from-behind victory.
"At the end of the day, we can't score any runs," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It's tough to win ballgames when you're scoring one run."
After struggling to drive in runners in scoring position on Friday night, Miami could hardly even advance runners into position against White Sox starter Jake Peavy. The Marlins had just three opportunities with runners in scoring position, and they squandered them much like they have in similar situations all year.
The Marlins are now last in the Major Leagues in hitting with runners in scoring position. Marcell Ozuna, Greg Dobbs and Chris Coghlan were the only Marlins to reach second base on Saturday, and Dietrich's home run was the only clutch hit Miami could muster against Peavy, who went 8 1/3 innings before allowing a run.
Dietrich is the prime example of how Redmond wants his club to approach this season. The Marlins are dealing with a number of injuries and as a result, a lot of young prospects have been thrust into an early opportunity at the Major League level.
"This is how careers are started and how they're made is by taking an opportunity and going with it," Redmond said. "If you can't get motivated and be able to make adjustments and figure it out with this opportunity we've created for guys, then you know what? Some guys are just going to miss the boat."
In the early going of his young career, Dietrich has seized every opportunity he's been given. While he isn't a natural second baseman, the rookie worked at the position and has developed into one of the Marlins' most dangerous hitters over the last two weeks. He's driven in three of Miami's four runs in the first two games of the series against the White Sox, and he's reached base in 14 straight games since starting his Major League career on May 8.
"Every time I step in the box, it's an exciting moment for me," Dietrich said. "I have an opportunity to help this team and I feel blessed to be able to do it. I just go out there and compete pitch to pitch every inning."
Dietrich actually broke down his at-bats against Peavy pitch by pitch on Saturday night and it led to the ninth-inning home run. The White Sox right-hander pressed Dietrich with his fastball to start the game but threw more offspeed pitches in his second and third at-bats. Peavy struck out Dietrich on a slider in the seventh inning, so the second baseman assumed he'd see a breaking ball behind in the count in the ninth. The pitch ended in his second home run in as many games.
"He's been given an opportunity and he's making the most of it," Redmond said. "He's got energy. He's got fire. He's got all the things that we want. These are the guys we want to build an organization around -- the guys that want it."
Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco has shown he wants to win, but once again he didn't receive much help from his offense, despite holding his opponent to one run for his second straight outing. The right-hander went 7 2/3 innings and struck out six to follow his eight-inning, 11-strikeout performance on Sunday. He also ended White Sox outfielder Alex Rios' 18-game hitting streak.
Nolasco admitted the lack of run support has made for a frustrating season for everyone in the clubhouse but said it only pays to worry about getting hitters out every fifth day.
"Ricky is a pro," Redmond said. "I've been so impressed with the way he's gone about his business, the way he's acted, his leadership. He has every reason to be frustrated, so do a lot of our pitchers. None of those guys have complained. They understand we're going through a tough spell."
The only run Nolasco surrendered was on hanging slider that Alexei Ramirez deposited into the outfield for an RBI double in the third inning to score Alejandro De Aza from first base.
Peavy didn't run into much trouble. Ozuna advanced to third in the top of the second inning on Coghlan's single with no outs, but Justin Ruggiano promptly grounded into a double play and Dobbs struck out to end the inning.
Dobbs did smack a double down the left-field line in the top of the eighth inning with one out, but his teammates couldn't drive him home. Rob Brantly popped out in foul territory for the second out and former South Sider Juan Pierre flied out to right field.
Following Dietrich's homer, Peavy said he lost his composure a bit and walked Coghlan, who advanced to second on a balk before Ruggiano flied out to end the inning.
Peavy tipped his cap to Dietrich after the game and credited him for making matters tough on Chicago.
"The kid is special," Peavy said. "He hit a big homer for his team. For us to come back and win there in the ninth, it was special. That's the White Sox way. Nothing is easy around here, is it?"
Webb surrendered the winning run for the second straight night after he'd limited opposing hitters to just four hits in eight road appearances entering the weekend series. The right-hander said he can't recall the last time he was saddled with the loss in two straight outings, and he's not sure if it's ever happened to him.
But the Marlins haven't given Webb much to work with over the last two games. A night after Redmond called out his team for not driving in runs when it counted, Miami hardly mustered a chance against Peavy. That is, except for Dietrich, who is quickly turning into the Marlins' model for how their youth should approach the Major Leagues.
"I'm not big on making excuses," Redmond said. "Guys have got an opportunity to play and get at-bats in the big leagues."