MIAMI -- All series, the Marlins stepped up when their backs were to the wall. They did it again on Thursday afternoon, rallying in the ninth inning to force extra innings. But this time, they weren't able to complete their fourth straight comeback victory.Pablo Sandoval broke a deadlock with a
MIAMI -- All series, the Marlins stepped up when their backs were to the wall. They did it again on Thursday afternoon, rallying in the ninth inning to force extra innings. But this time, they weren't able to complete their fourth straight comeback victory.
Pablo Sandoval broke a deadlock with a two-run single in a three-run 16th inning and the Giants prevailed, 6-3, to avoid a four-game sweep at Marlins Park.
The exhausting game taxed both rosters and bullpens, with Elieser Hernandez, a rookie right-hander, finally allowing runs in his fifth inning. Miami's bullpen had thrown 10 straight scoreless innings before Sandoval's two-run single and Gorkys Hernandez's sacrifice fly.
Even after trailing by three in the 16th, the Marlins made things interesting by putting runners on second and third, on J.B. Shuck's double -- his fourth hit of the game. Sam Dyson entered and retired John Holaday for the save. The game lasted four hours and 49 minutes.
"It was one of those series that played back and forth," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Close games. Good for a lot of situations."
For the Marlins, the 16 innings are their second most this season. The only game that lasted longer was against the Cubs on March 30, the second game of the year, when Miami celebrated a 2-1 win in 17 innings.
"Hats off to the guys in this room, giving it everything they've got for the whole game," said Marlins starter Dan Straily, who went five innings, allowing three runs. "Coming back there and tying it up in the ninth and then continuing to play. It's really good to see everyone in this room keeps working towards every single at-bat. No one is giving into anything. Everyone keeps scratching and clawing through every single pitch."
Miami had a golden chance in the 15th inning, with runners at the corners -- Derek Dietrich and Brian Anderson -- with one out. But Ty Blach, who pitched 6 2/3 innings, got Justin Bour to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play.
The Marlins may not have completed the sweep on Thursday afternoon, but they succeeded in piecing together arguably their most complete four-game stretch of the season, taking three of four.
In each of the first three games, the Marlins celebrated comeback wins. On Wednesday night, it was Anderson who had the walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth inning. On Thursday, rookie Lewis Brinson's sac fly in the ninth inning off closer Hunter Strickland forced extra innings.
"We talked about it, [it] was a good situation for Anderson last night," Mattingly said. "I think the situation for Lewis today -- he has their closer out there with good stuff. Battles him and gets that run in for us. All those things are good for us and help these guys keep putting experiences under their belt, which is going to help us going forward."
Miami forced extra innings with a run in the ninth inning, and it kept the score even with a stellar defensive play in the 11th. With two outs, Alen Hanson doubled to right field. Brandon Crawford attempted to score from first, but Shuck got to the ball quickly and threw to Starlin Castro, who threw home to Holaday, who applied the tag on Crawford's leg.
"I saw them waving him around," Holaday said. "I had to whip my head around and then make the catch on the throw coming from Starlin. So when I caught it, I just tried to lunge and reach with everything I had to see if I could him. Luckily, I was able to get him on the leg."
In the 13th inning, the Marlins had the bases loaded with two outs, but without any position players available, Hernandez had to bat, and the rookie tapped back to the mound.
"Batting is difficult, but, yeah, I thought I had the chance," Hernandez said through an interpreter on the ball he chopped over Blach's head.
"Those are kind of games where that guy who comes in out of the 'pen is the last guy left," Mattingly said. "It seems like everybody wants to drive in that run or get that big hit."
The Marlins rallied off closer Strickland to tie it in the ninth inning on an unearned run. Miami capitalized on Joe Panik's two-base error that allowed Castro to open the inning on second base. Panik dropped Castro's high fly ball near the right-field line. JT Riddle's sacrifice bunt moved Castro to third, and he scored on Brinson's sacrifice fly to the warning track in center.
Before the ninth-inning rally by the Marlins, Giants rookie Dereck Rodriguez, the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, was in line for the win. The rookie gave up two runs, including a home run to Riddle and a single to Holaday, and scattered seven hits while striking out four in 6 2/3 innings with his father watching from behind home plate.
The Marlins' bullpen was stellar all series, allowing three runs in 11 innings on Thursday, and allowing five runs in 21 1/3 innings over the four games.
"Obviously, we had a lot of good things happen there," Mattingly said. "It's one of those games again that looked like it could have gotten away early."
After reaching on a fielder's choice in the fourth inning, Williamson tried stealing second with two outs, but he was thrown out by Holaday. That marks nine straight that Holaday has caught trying to steal, which is a club record. For the season, the Marlins' backup catcher has thrown out 10 of 14.
"A lot of that has to do with our pitching staff, holding runners and doing a great job of keeping those guys close to give me a chance to throw them out," Holaday said.
HE SAID IT
"It was an unfortunate at-bat, a couple of pitches could have gone either way, and it could have ended that at-bat a lot sooner than 11 pitches. Frustrating that the first batter of the game is 11 pitches. There's nothing you can do. You just keep pitching. It ended with a strikeout." -- Straily, on his 11-pitch at-bat with Panik to lead off the game
ROSTER MOVES EXPECTED
With the bullpen covering 11 innings on Thursday, the Marlins are expected to make a roster move at some point this weekend during the series in Baltimore. Ben Meyer, who threw two scoreless innings on Thursday, is expected to be optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. A couple of long relievers on the 40-man roster at Triple-A are Tyler Cloyd and Odrisamer Despaigne.
Although Hernandez threw five innings and 82 pitches, he is a Rule 5 Draft pick, so he can't be optioned to the Minor Leagues. Rule 5 Draft picks must remain on the active roster or risk being offered back to their previous team, which in Hernandez's case, is the Astros.
For the first time since taking two of three in 2010, the Marlins will face the Orioles at Camden Yards. Jose Urena, 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA in five road starts, gets the nod for Miami on Friday in the series opener at 7:05 p.m. ET. Baltimore counters with Kevin Gausman.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.