MIAMI -- Moving forward, the Marlins are aiming to build a roster around contact hitters with power potential. They got a glimpse of what that might look like Sunday in a four-run seventh inning that rallied Miami to a 5-3 victory over the Nationals at Marlins Park.
“That was a really big, total team win,” the 25-year-old Dean said. “I couldn't be any prouder of my teammates. We've been fighting all year. Especially this last month, a lot of games kind of got away from us. It was just awesome.”
The Marlins finished their season series with the Nationals winning just four of 19.
In the home finale, the Marlins went mostly with a younger lineup, with many players who started off the year at Triple-A with the New Orleans Baby Cakes.
"We were kind of joking when everyone started coming up that we were the Miami Baby Cakes,” said reliever Jeff Brigham, who logged his first big league save. “We had a lot of camaraderie down there.
“As for the Nationals, we came in hoping to knock them out of the playoff race a little bit. Hopefully, that is a little wake-up call for the next couple of games.”
In year eight at spacious Marlins Park, the Marlins finished 30-51, their worst home record in the retractable-roof building that opened in 2012. The '13 Marlins, which lost 100 games, went 36-45 at home.
A crowd of 19,709 was on hand Sunday, raising their season total to 811,302, a slight increase from the 811,104 in 2018.
“It was a lot of fun to have a good crowd out there to send us off for the last game of the home season,” the rookie Brigham said.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly noted as the Marlins build for 2020 that the club is seeking more pure hitters, batters who put the ball in play.
“We’ve got to find more guys that can hit,” Mattingly said. “I think when you look at the guys around the league, the best hitters are hitting home runs. The best hitters are driving in a bunch of runs. Then there are other guys who maybe hit some home runs but don’t really do anything else. I think we’re kind of looking for more of that all-around guy who can do a lot of stuff.”
A sampling of that came in the seventh inning. Dean led off with a home run off Hunter Strickland. After Strickland hit Lewis Brinson with a pitch, the Nationals went to Wander Suero, who made a throwing error on a pickoff play, advancing Brinson to second. Magneuris Sierra walked, and Berti lined a two-run double to right-center, putting the Marlins in front 4-3.
The negative of the afternoon was Sierra, who made a nice running catch on Adam Eaton’s liner in the fifth inning, sustaining a mild left hamstring strain, scoring from first. The speedster will not make the final road trip.
“I think that's kind of what set that inning off a little bit,” Dean said. “One after the other after the other. My big philosophy is hitting is contagious. Once something like that happens, it kind of gets the blood flowing a little bit.”