Marlins stage late rally, but Dodgers pull away

July 21st, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- A baseball season is full of thrilling highs and crushing lows. Individual games can be, too. On Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, the Marlins experienced both within the span of one inning.

In the top of the eighth, the Marlins mounted a five-run rally to tie a game they’d once trailed by six runs. As quickly as they’d climbed back in, though, they were out of it again, with the bullpen surrendering four runs in the bottom of the frame for a 10-6 loss to the Dodgers.

“That’s the kind of team we are -- we’re not gonna take any innings off, we’re gonna keep fighting until the end,” Brian Anderson said. “Just didn’t have enough today.”

The game looked like it was decided pretty early on, as Sandy Alcantara struggled in his five innings while Clayton Kershaw shut down the Marlins through six. Not even Starlin Castro’s seventh-inning solo shot did much to change the tone.

Things shifted dramatically when the eighth came along.

“We got a boost just getting Kershaw out of the game, finally,” said Anderson. “Getting into that bullpen and just putting some good at-bats together, we were kind of able to fight back right there.”

It started innocuously enough, with a leadoff infield single off the bat of Bryan Holaday. He ended up being the first of nine Marlins to bat in the inning against four Dodgers relievers.

Curtis Granderson and Anderson each doubled, but the rally was largely fueled by the Marlins taking advantage of some erratic Dodgers pitching and some sloppy Dodgers defense. Yadiel Rivera and Garrett Cooper worked walks, while Castro was hit by a pitch. The final two runs of the inning came in when second baseman Enrique Hernandez made a wild throw to first when attempting to turn a double play.

“What I liked in that little series there was we got some good at-bats, from the standpoint of getting strikes,” manager Don Mattingly said.

“I think that we know whenever we step on the field, we can compete with these teams,” said Anderson. “Getting the game back within reach and making that game really competitive was a lot of fun.”

The thrill of the comeback was short-lived. Elieser Hernandez came out of the bullpen for the bottom of the eighth and struck out leadoff batter A.J. Pollock. But after the right-hander gave up a double and a walk, Matt Beaty’s three-run blast put the Marlins behind for good.

“It was kind of a tale of two different games,” Mattingly said. “Early on, Sandy missed a lot of spots, didn’t get through the ball where he needed to. Kersh kind of had us on our heels, we couldn’t do much with him. Then, all of a sudden … we get some guys on and get some big hits, really changed the game.

“So that’s one game. Then, after that … obviously, Elieser picked a bad day to not have his best stuff.”