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5 key moments from Marlins' memorable '20

@JoeFrisaro
October 8, 2020

From the start of Summer Camp, the Marlins treated the abbreviated season as a 60-game playoff sprint.

From the start of Summer Camp, the Marlins treated the abbreviated season as a 60-game playoff sprint.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 ATL 9, MIA 5 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 7 ATL 2, MIA 0 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 8 ATL 7, MIA 0 Watch

From chief executive officer Derek Jeter to president of baseball operations Michael Hill to manager Don Mattingly and the players, the Marlins treated each day as a postseason push. And nothing distracted them from their mission.

They dealt with 18 players testing positive for COVID-19, as well as the front office making 174 roster moves. In all, 61 players were used and 18 made their MLB debut in 2020.

On Thursday afternoon, the Marlins’ sprint fell short of reaching the World Series, but it lasted far longer than many imagined. They lost, 7-0, to the Braves in Game 3 of their best-of-five National League Division Series at Minute Maid Park.

Although the Marlins will now head back to Miami and begin making plans for 2021, let’s take a look at five key moments from a memorable ‘20.

July 26 vs. Phillies in Philadelphia: Marlins win, 11-6
Just three games into the season, the COVID-19 outbreak began in the clubhouse. Projected starting pitcher José Ureña was scratched from his scheduled start, while Garrett Cooper and Harold Ramirez were not in the lineup. Robert Dugger made the emergency start and gave up four runs in the first inning. Miami tied it in the top of the second, fell behind by a run in the bottom of the frame but then began to respond in the fourth. Jesús Aguilar, Miguel Rojas, Brian Anderson and Corey Dickerson all homered in the comeback win.

Aug. 31 vs. Mets in New York: Marlins win, 5-3
The Marlins had wrapped up an eight-game road trip -- and had just been swept in three games at home by the Rays -- when they had to return to New York to face the Mets in a makeup game at Citi Field. The team was openly upset about the travel schedule, but it was still able to take care of business. Rookie Trevor Rogers drew the pitching matchup against Jacob deGrom. Rogers went five innings and picked up the win, while deGrom took the loss. Garrett Cooper homered off deGrom in the sixth and Anderson responded with a homer in the eighth off reliever Brad Brach.

Sept. 1 vs. Blue Jays: Marlins win, 3-2
Starling Marte made an immediate impact in his first game with the Marlins. Miami acquired Marte at the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline for left-hander Caleb Smith and pitching prospect Humberto Mejía. The score was tied at 2 in the eighth inning when Marte belted the game-winning home run off Shun Yamaguchi.

Sept. 13 vs. Phillies: Marlins sweep doubleheader
There was a little extra motivation for rookie Sixto Sánchez in Miami’s 2-1 victory in Game 1. That’s because the 22-year-old was facing his former organization. Acquired from the Phillies before the 2019 season, Sánchez logged the Marlins’ lone complete game of the season. Sánchez gave up one run in seven innings on three hits with four strikeouts. The rookie threw 90 pitches and preserved a key win. In Game 2, an 8-1 win, left-hander Braxton Garrett made his MLB debut and logged five innings, giving up one run on three hits to help complete the sweep.

Sept. 25 vs. Yankees in New York: Marlins win, 4-3
With the bases loaded in the 10th inning, Brandon Kintzler got DJ LeMahieu to bounce to Miguel Rojas, who stepped on second and threw to first for the game-ending double play. With the win, the Marlins clinched their first postseason berth since 2003. Sandy Alcantara threw 7 1/3 innings, and Aguilar’s sacrifice fly in the 10th provided the winning run. The victory came on the fourth anniversary of former Marlins All-Star José Fernández’s death, creating an emotional backdrop for Mattingly and the rest of the organization.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.