Alfaro homers twice, takes hit behind plate

September 17th, 2020

belted a pair of two-run home runs on Wednesday night, but the 27-year-old catcher also was shaken up by a foul ball off his face mask in the Marlins’ 8-4 victory over the Red Sox at Marlins Park.

Alfaro and the Marlins received a scare, but the medical staff determined that he did not have a concussion. Manager Don Mattingly added that the decision to get Alfaro into the dugout was precautionary.

“It was good news,” Mattingly said. “I didn't really feel like anything was wrong there. I didn't feel like taking any chances right there. If he catches another foul ball there, you never know what happens. I was glad to hear that news afterwards, for sure.”

Miami is thin at catching depth, and the team didn’t take any chances with Alfaro’s well-being after he was dazed on Christian Vázquez’s foul ball in the seventh inning. Alfaro was wobbly after taking the brunt of the ball on the helmet, though he stayed in the game for two more batters.

“Let's just get past the baseball, and get into the straight health,” Mattingly said. “You want to make sure he's good, and not let him catch another foul ball. That's probably the biggest danger there, that he catches another one.”

Alfaro played a big part in the Marlins bouncing back from Tuesday’s 2-0 loss, with his third career multihomer game and first since Sept. 23, 2019, at the Mets.

With the win, the Marlins (25-22) gained a full game on the Braves, who lost to the Orioles. Miami is now 2 1/2 games back in the National League East. The Marlins also are 1 1/2 games in front of the Phillies for second place in the division. The top two teams from each division earn a playoff spot this season, along with two Wild Cards in each league.

The Marlins already are shorthanded behind the plate with on the 60-day injured list because a concussion. is the only other backstop on the 40-man roster.

Mattingly spoke with Alfaro during a pitching change, with replacing . Alfaro, after a brief discussion with the trainer, was replaced by Wallach.

At the plate, Alfaro had a huge game, crushing a two-run homer off Mike Kickham in the second inning. And in the fifth inning, he went deep again, with another two-run shot, off Robinson Leyer.

Statcast projected the first homer at 423 feet and 109.7 mph.

“The homers today, obviously, both of them, give you a little cushion,” Mattingly said. “These guys [Boston] kept coming today. Then he gives you another two-run homer and gives you more cushion.”

gave the Marlins a first-inning lead with a two-run homer. They are 18-12 when they hit at least one home run and 7-10 when they don’t.

Miami’s offense broke through with four runs in the third. had an RBI single, ripped a run-scoring double and Alfaro crushed a two-run homer to center.

“We trust each other,” Brinson said. “We truly trust each other with anything, whether it's moving a guy over -- if we don't get the job done with a runner on third base and less than two outs, we're trusting that guy behind us. We tell them, coming off the field, if we make an out, 'Pick me up.' Same thing with the pitchers. Pitchers have our back; we have their back.”

In the fifth inning off Leyer, Alfaro’s drive to center was projected at 412 feet and 102.6 mph.

“There's no selfish players on this team,” Brinson said. “There's nobody who is just here for their numbers. Everybody wants one goal, and that's to win a World Series and get to that next step.”

, in his fifth big league start, had a workmanlike three innings. The lefty gave up just one run, but the Red Sox ran up his pitch count to 76, with 45 strikes. In the first inning alone, Rogers threw 34 pitches, with the biggest one being a slider that caught Vázquez looking for an inning-ending strikeout.

The last batter Rogers faced in the third inning was Yairo Muñoz, who ripped a liner that hit the back of the Miami starter. Rogers was able to retrieve the ball and complete the out at first.

Rogers was shaken up on the liner, which caught him on the belt in his lower back.

“Luckily, it hit me right in the spot where my belt was,” Rogers said. “So my belt caught some of it. It still lit me up, but luckily it dropped right in front of me, so I was able to get the out. It pretty much tightened right away on me. I went to the trainers and got it taken care of. It's feeling a lot better, but I'm definitely going to feel it in the morning, though.”