Marlins lose lead, win on walk-off HR in ninth
MIAMI -- After watching a two-run lead slip away on Alexi Amarista's homer in the top of the ninth, the Marlins responded with Adeiny Hechavarria's walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the inning. Hechavarria blistered a drive out to left-center off Brandon Maurer to lift Miami to a 5-2 win over the Padres on Sunday at Marlins Park.
The Padres tied it on Amarista's two-run shot off A.J. Ramos with one out. The blast to right marked Ramos' third blown save since taking over the closer's role in May, with all three coming on home runs.
"I wasn't looking for a home run," said Hechavarria, who delivered his first career walk-off hit. "Honestly, I was just looking for a single, whether it was a broken-bat single or a little dribbler in the infield and beat it out. I was trying to help out the team. I thank God, because I've never ended a game that way, with a home run."
The home run by Amarista also denied Miami ace Jose Fernandez, who struck out 10 in six innings, from collecting a victory. Had Ramos logged the save, Fernandez would have improved to 16-0 at home in 24 career starts. Since 1900, according to Elias, LaMarr Hoyt (1980-82) and Johnny Allen (1932-33) are the only two to start their careers at home 16-0.
Miami scratched out two first-inning runs off James Shields, who scattered five hits and struck out four in six innings. Miguel Rojas hit an RBI double in the first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Derek Dietrich.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rojas' two-strike double: The Marlins gave Fernandez a two-run cushion in the first inning. Rojas put Miami on the board with an RBI double. After Ichiro Suzuki doubled to lead off the inning, Rojas attempted to sacrifice bunt him to third. But after two missed bunt attempts, Rojas was swinging. On a 1-2 pitch, he doubled to center.
Little big swing: Amarista, one of the smallest (5-foot-6) players in the game, came up with a big swing in the ninth inning. On April 6, 2014, he had a similar big home run at Marlins Park: a pinch-hit three-run home run -- on his birthday, no less -- that helped the Padres to a 4-2 victory. More >
"I was just trying to get on base. I never went up there trying to get a home run. I got a pitch to drive, put a good swing on it and the ball left the park," Amarista said.
Fernandez's 10 strikeouts: A two-out error by first baseman Justin Bour made Fernandez have to bear down in the sixth inning. Already with nine strikeouts and at 104 pitches, the Miami ace faced Derek Norris with Yonder Alonso on second. Norris battled, but he struck out swinging through an 84-mph curveball on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. More >
"Jose didn't have his best stuff," manager Dan Jennings said. "The ball was kind of running off the plate, arm-side, a little bit. But he was able to grind through and stay out there for 112 [pitches] and give us those six innings."
Shields settles down: It was a rough beginning for Shields, who allowed two runs in the first. He was better the rest of his outing, though. At one point, he retired 10 consecutive hitters before Hechavarria singled to lead off the fifth inning. Shields stranded him at third base to end the frame, getting Rojas on a ground ball. The righty allowed two hits over his final five innings.
"His stuff is top five, top 10 in the league. He loves it out there. You can tell why he's so successful. We did have our opportunities, we had the bases loaded and a runner on third with no outs. That could have changed things," -- Padres interim manager Pat Murphy, on Fernandez
"A.J., he's the closer. He's the closer. Right now, it's been a little bit of the fastball command. The slider is very effective. Amarista last year early in the season went down on a slider from [Nathan] Eovaldi and did the same thing. A.J. just made a pitch in a bad location to that particular hitter. But he is still the closer. I hope tomorrow night we'll have a chance to run him out there, because he will be out there." -- Jennings, on Ramos' status as closer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Padres left fielder Justin Upton struck out four times on Sunday -- three against Fernandez, with the fourth coming in the eighth inning against Miami reliever Mike Dunn. Reliever Carter Capps got the first two strikes of the at-bat before exiting with elbow stiffness.
The Marlins challenged umpire Adrian Johnson's ruling that Christian Yelich was out at home in the sixth inning. Yelich attempted to slide his left hand across the plate, but he was tagged out by Norris for the second out in the inning. After review, it was ruled that the call stands.
Padres: The Padres open a four-game series in Milwaukee on Monday at 5:10 p.m. PT. Tyson Ross (7-8, 3.38 ERA), the team's most consistent starter in 2015, gets the nod. Ross has a 2.49 ERA in his last eight starts and a 2.63 ERA on the road this season.
Marlins: Tom Koehler (8-7, 3.38 ERA) tries to bounce back for the Marlins as the Mets come to Miami for a three-game set beginning on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Koehler, who has a 2.32 home ERA this season, was defeated by the Nationals in his last start when he allowed five earned runs in six innings.
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