Alvarez's 2014 debut falls short of '13 finale
Right-hander has shaky start after no-hitter, and comeback bid falls short
MIAMI -- When Henderson Alvarez last took the mound at Marlins Park, it was a day to remember. The right-hander capped Miami's 2013 season by no-hitting the Tigers.
On Wednesday night, Alvarez had a night he would rather forget.
The Rockies jumped out to a big lead, capitalizing on three errors -- one by Alvarez -- and held on for a 6-5 victory over the Marlins at Marlins Park.
Miami, which played two crisp games to open the season, was sloppy early and resilient late. Alvarez lasted three-plus innings, and though he was charged with six runs, only three were earned.
Showing resolve after falling behind by five runs, the Marlins climbed back into the game with three runs in the sixth inning, then another in the ninth.
"There was definitely a lot of stuff happening in that game," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "At the end of the day, I was happy we were still in it. We had several chances to take ourselves totally out of that game."
Giancarlo Stanton belted a two-run, opposite-field home run off Jordan Lyles, who gave up four runs in five-plus innings in his Rockies debut.
In the ninth inning, Stanton nearly went deep again, and if he had, it would have been a three-run, walk-off homer. But the slugger blasted a drive to left off closer LaTroy Hawkins that easily would have had the distance. But the ball twisted foul.
Stanton nevertheless delivered an RBI single, putting two on for Garrett Jones. But Jones, who had two singles and an RBI on the night, lifted a popup to third to end the rally.
"My first reaction was, I faced Colorado last time, and I had a ball like that that barely swiped the pole," Stanton said. "This one just missed."
For his career, Stanton has 11 homers and 29 RBIs against Colorado.
In many of the Marlins' losses last year, they lacked the firepower to rally back from deficits. Chipping to within a run, and having a chance to pull it out in the ninth gave the club a boost on a night that could have ended ugly.
"It's awesome, to not get down," Jones said. "We could have gotten down on ourselves early. But we weren't out of the game. We kept pressing. We had a chance in the middle of the game, and we had a chance at the end there. It came down to the wire. If we keep playing good ball like that, we're going to win more games than we are not."
The Marlins still have a chance to take three of four in the series when they close out the set on Thursday afternoon.
"We gave it a run there in the ninth, had the guys at the plate that we needed," Redmond said. "We put together some great at-bats and almost got it done."
It was an unceremonious night all around for Miami, a far cry from Alvarez's no-hitter that was won, 1-0, in walk-off style last year.
In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer became the only pitcher in MLB history to log back-to-back no-hitters.
Alvarez's bid to at least record another hitless inning was quickly erased when Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a single to center.
The Rockies pieced together six hits in the first, scoring three times.
"What got me in trouble was leaving the ball up there," Alvarez said. "That's when the batters took advantage, and they got their hits off me."
With one out, Carlos Gonzalez's RBI double was the first of five straight hits. Troy Tulowitzki singled, and Justin Morneau laced a run-scoring single. Jordan Pacheco capped the scoring with an RBI single following Nolan Arenado's base hit. Four of the six hits came with two strikes.
"There were a couple of times when I had the count, 1-2, that I tried to throw the ball in the dirt," Alvarez said. "I left it up, and the hitters took advantage."
The Marlins responded with a run in the bottom of the inning on Jones' RBI single.
But in the fourth inning, a couple of errors helped Colorado open a five-run advantage.
Adeiny Hechavarria committed a throwing error on Arenado's sharp grounder. After Pacheco singled, there was a bit of controversy. DJ LeMahieu bounced to second. Derek Dietrich collected the hot shot, and he went for the forceout at second, and a possible double play. But he slipped briefly, and his toss to Hechavarria dragged the shortstop off the bag. Second-base umpire Jerry Layne ruled safe, and Redmond issued the first challenge in Marlins Park.
The Marlins believed Hechavarria dragged his foot across the base, but the replay was not conclusive. The review lasted under three minutes, and the umpires upheld the call.
The night got rougher for Alvarez, who threw a wild pitch on his next pitch. Although he was spiked in the left leg, Alvarez said it was more of a scrape and that he was fine.
The errors were the real damage.
"We made a couple of mistakes, gave them some extra outs," Redmond said. "We talked about that as a ballclub in Spring Training. We're not able to give teams more than 27 outs. We've got to execute better defensively. We gave some extra outs, and it ended up probably being the difference in the game."