PHILADELPHIA -- Tuesday night’s wild intra-division contest between the Marlins and the Phillies certainly shouldn’t be compared to a Shakespearean play. But it did provide plenty of twists and turns to entertain -- or infuriate -- depending on whose fan base you ask.
Act 1: The Exposition
This week kicked off a stretch of seven consecutive games for the Marlins against teams ahead of them in the National League East standings.
“It's a funny game, right?” manager Don Mattingly said. “We don't score last night. We get 11 tonight. Sandy gives us the outing he gives us, and we don't score. Tonight, we just kind of did whatever we had to do, and it was good to see it.”
But left-hander Trevor Rogers’ sophomore struggles continued, as he was chased with two outs in the fourth following a career-high six walks and four runs. Leading the charge was Rhys Hoskins, who knocked a game-tying three-run homer in the fourth and a two-run double in the fifth that gave Philadelphia a 93 percent win probability with an 8-4 lead.
Philadelphia’s much-beleaguered bullpen had other plans. Jacob Stallings and Jazz Chisholm Jr. went deep in a game-tying four-run seventh, though the Phillies still held a 54 percent win probability. It marked the third time the Marlins have gone back-to-back this season.
“Pretty wild,” said Stallings, who hadn’t homered since Opening Day. “We got out to that 4-0 lead and they scored eight unanswered. Kind of a whirlwind of thinking that you're going to win for sure, and then probably going to lose. We just did a great job battling back.”
Hoskins struck again in the eighth, handing the Phillies a 9-8 lead on his second homer and career-high-tying sixth RBI -- a solo shot off Steven Okert.
That didn’t bode well for the Marlins, who had been winless in 26 games when trailing after eight frames. But a ninth-inning rally began when Miguel Rojas reached on a throwing error and Corey Knebel walked consecutive batters to load the bases. Garrett Cooper produced the game-tying RBI single, so Philadelphia turned to former Marlin Andrew Bellatti on the mound.
Act 3: The Climax
The Phillies appeared poised to escape the jam when Jorge Soler flied out to shallow left and Aguilar sent a popup behind home plate. But former Marlin J.T. Realmuto dropped the ball, which would have been the second out of the inning. Aguilar made him pay two pitches later with the go-ahead two-run double to right.
“I almost said thank you to him, because that doesn't happen a lot,” Aguilar said. “J.T.'s a really good catcher. He doesn’t miss those balls a lot. I think it was luck. Baseball is like that. I was a lucky guy tonight.”
Act 4: Falling Action
With a 91 percent win probability, Mattingly turned to lefty Tanner Scott, who worked around a one-out double for his fifth save in five opportunities this season. Acquired less than a week before Spring Training ended, Scott has become the all-but-official closer. He entered 2022 with just one save in his career.
Act 5: Denouement or Resolution
There will be a quick turnaround after Tuesday’s nearly four-hour-long contest. Miami will look to secure the series victory on Wednesday, but the club will have to do so without Pablo López (right hand contusion) on the mound. Following a Thursday off-day, the Marlins will face the NL-best Mets for the first time this season.
“It's just baseball,” Aguilar said. “Sometimes way too hard, sometimes not. Last night was a tough game for us, especially with Sandy on the mound. But you know what? You've got to come back here the next day, and you saw what happened today. That's the beautiful thing about the game. We've got to come back tomorrow and try to win the series, too. You've got to leave those things in the past, and just continue to do whatever you can do.”