MIAMI -- The Marlins flipped the script on the Braves on Saturday night and gave the South Florida baseball market a glimpse of what the organization is aiming to build for the future
The National League East-leading Braves have dominated the season-series, 11-4, including their own late-game heroics at SunTrust Park on July 6.
On a night the Marlins had a promotion with the University of Miami, an energized crowd of 29,720 witnessed a thrilling comeback, capped by Prado’s heroics.
“You want to get people here,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That's for our players. As far as the organization, you want to get the city involved in what you're doing, and be excited about what's going on with the Marlins. We have to go out and play well. Nobody wants to necessarily come if you're not playing well. So it's our job to play well.”
In the 10th inning, it was the veteran Prado, driving home the rookie, Ramirez.
“I was on the other side, too,” said Prado, who broke in with the Braves and is playoff tested in his 14-year MLB career. “[The Braves] really have a strong mentality. And winning teams, they have that strong mentality. When you're building a team or you're rebuilding with a group of young guys, you're hoping that these guys have that strong mentality. That you don't care who you're playing. If you're playing the Yankees. If you're playing a first-place team, they have to believe, and go out there and perform.”
Ramirez singled to open the 10th inning, and advanced to third on Sean Newcomb’s errant pickoff attempt.
The Marlins rallied twice, from three down in the eighth inning and four back in the ninth inning to force extra innings.
Miami has won two of three in the four-game set and looks to claim the series win on Sunday afternoon.
Trailing, 6-2, entering the ninth, Miami strung together six straight one-out hits, capped by Starlin Castro’s two-run double off Shane Greene. Miami had the bases full, and Isan Diaz, who had an RBI single, attempted to score from first. But Atlanta converted a relay from left fielder Adam Duvall to shortstop Charlie Culberson to catcher Brian McCann, to nab Diaz on a close play. Miami asked for a replay challenge, and the call stood.
After the dramatic win, veteran Curtis Granderson addressed the team, noting that pulling out exciting victories in front of a large crowd -- Saturday marked the highest attendance of the season for Miami -- is what the future could look like for the building Marlins.
“Grandy just sent a really good message to them after the game,” Prado said. “Just digest that information, so in the future, they can handle these kinds of situations.
Granderson, who hit a pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning, and Prado, Castro and Neil Walker are veterans who are setting an example for the younger players.
“We just come to play, every day,” Prado said. “We don't want to show them if we're frustrated. No sign of quitting. No sign of, ‘This is over.’ I'm hoping that we're translating and sending that message to them.”
Until the eighth inning, the game was dominated by the starters. Sandy Alcantara, seeking his first win since June 21 at Philadelphia, was charged with three runs in 7 2/3 innings. The right-hander had not yielded a run until two outs in the eighth, on Ozzie Albies’ RBI double that deflected off Alcantara’s left calf. Freddie Freeman had a two-run single off reliever Jarlin García.
“I’m really happy about my teammates,” Alcantara said. “We never give up. Every time we're out there, we're competing. A lot of good things happened out there.”
“We’re trying to build this thing to where people trust that we're invested in this city and want to bring good baseball here, on a year in, year out basis,” Mattingly said. “That takes time. Hopefully, we can get to that.”