Jazz helps send Marlins home happy in wild 9th

May 12th, 2022

PHOENIX -- The music was blaring, Marlins players were hooting and hollering and the vibe in the visiting clubhouse at Chase Field had changed drastically from the previous two days. Everybody was upbeat, preparing for a joyful flight home to Miami.

 couldn’t stop smiling while talking about what had happened shortly before. Understandable, given the manner in which the Marlins had just ended what had been a challenging road trip up to that point.

In a tied game in the ninth, Miami reeled off eight consecutive two-out hits for an eight-run rally that lifted it to an 11-3 victory over Arizona. The Marlins -- who had lost nine of their past 10 games, including five of their first six on this West Coast swing -- finally had the offensive breakout they’d been waiting for to cap off the finale in the desert.

Miami hadn’t been playing badly of late, even though its May record sat at 1-9 entering Wednesday’s game. A lot of close contests were going the other way. The Marlins even had an eight-game stretch that featured seven one-run losses.

“It’s a tough feeling,” Chisholm said. “Walking off the field, you want to put your head down. But you’ve got to keep it up until the next day, because you know you’ve got another day to come back and fight.”

But how can you do that when all the breaks seem to go in the opponents’ favor?

“We were just going in there as dogs and hungry, man,” Chisholm said.

It paid off. After the D-backs tied Wednesday’s game at 3 on Jordan Luplow’s pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth, the Marlins went to work against Arizona closer Mark Melancon once they were down to their final out in the ninth.

With Jesús Sánchez on first, Bryan De La Cruz singled. Then Jacob Stallings drove Sánchez home with a knock to center field, putting Miami back on top. But with the way games had been going lately, a one-run lead might not have been enough.

That’s when Chisholm swatted a three-run homer the opposite way to left-center field. With a 21-degree launch angle off the bat (per Statcast), it looked at first like it might not be high enough to clear the fence. But it did, and the Marlins had a 7-3 lead.

“I was thinking three, or inside-the-parker if it got away from someone, honestly,” Chisholm said. “Like I hit it and I just took off running. I didn’t look to see where it was, all I heard was the guys behind me screaming, and I just took off running.”

And now, Miami was rolling. It suddenly felt much more like April, when the club used a seven-game winning streak to finish the month 12-8.

The D-backs brought in J.B. Wendelken, but he couldn’t quell the Marlins’ rally. Garrett Cooper singled. Jorge Soler singled. And Erik González singled home Cooper to make it 8-3.

As Chisholm noted, some key Marlins hitters have endured early-season slumps, a big reason for their recent offensive struggles. Perhaps none has been more notable than Avisaíl García, who signed a four-year, $53 million deal with Miami this past offseason. The veteran slugger was batting .176 with one homer when he arrived in Arizona on Monday.

The Marlins need García to rake for their lineup to reach its full potential. So it was an encouraging sight when he crushed a 440-foot three-run homer to complete the scoring in Miami’s ninth-inning outburst.

García now has a five-game hitting streak, and has raised his average to .204.

“He’s been seeing the ball, he’s been taking left turns a little more often, which is always a good thing,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He bounced a couple balls up the middle the other day, which was good, just to get a couple knocks.”

It could also be a sign that things are turning the right way. Not only for García, but the team as a whole.

For several days, Mattingly has shared his belief that the tides would soon turn back in the Marlins’ favor. It was clear the skipper was pleased to see that happen before returning home.

“Definitely a sigh of relief, though, to get a win, try to end this thing, this little stretch,” Mattingly said. “Hopefully that little breakout there at the end kind of gets us rolling.”

After 16 games in 16 days, Miami is off Thursday, before opening a nine-game homestand on Friday. The Marlins will welcome the Brewers, Nationals and Braves to town during that stretch. They are hopeful that the recent tough days are behind them, and that Wednesday was the start of better times ahead.

“We lost a couple games, but we don’t give up,” starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara said.

Added Chisholm: “When you see stuff like that today, it just shows the promises of what we’ve got going into the future.”