MIAMI -- Off the bat, there was no guarantee Starlin Castro's fly ball to right field would score even one run. It ended up netting three as the bases cleared on a throwing error in one of the stranger plays you'll see.
The Marlins capitalized on the miscue, which turned into an eventual and improbable sacrifice fly in the fifth inning of a 7-2 win over the Pirates at Marlins Park on Friday.
"That was a little bit of a gift there," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
With the Marlins (4-9) off to a slow start, they will gladly take all the breaks they can get, and in the fifth inning, their aggressiveness on the bases helped create it.
Miami filled the bases off Chad Kuhl and had pitcher Dillon Peters on third when Castro lifted a lazy fly ball to right field. Gregory Polanco settled under it and made the long throw home. The throw was up the first-base line, allowing Peters to score easily. Derek Dietrich tagged at second, while Miguel Rojas was going from first to second.
Catcher Elias Diaz, hoping to catch Rojas, sailed a high throw to second that skipped deep into center field. Dietrich trotted home and Rojas followed him, racing around the bases on the throwing error.
"I was trying to advance if he threw the ball over the cutoff man," said Rojas, who had three hits. "He did. I felt I was in a good spot to take an extra base right there. All the credit to Peters to hustle down the line and score the run. At that point, I was just thinking about tying the game. But it turned pretty good for us, because we got two more runs."
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Center field had become vacated because Starling Marte drifted to the gap in right-center on the fly ball caught by Polanco. So when Diaz's throw reached the outfield, it just kept going.
"I just saw the runner and thought I had a chance on that play," Diaz said. "When I saw the ball [sail] I just thought, 'Oh my God.' I'm going to continue to throw the ball. I'm going to make errors because I'm human. I just want to continue to be aggressive."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the most recent time three runners scored on a sacrifice fly came on July 7, 2000. In that game, Orlando Cabrera of the Montreal Expos was credited with a sacrifice fly with the bases full, and a series of misplays led to three runs scoring against the Blue Jays.
"I was just tagging up on that fly ball," Peters said. "Fredi [Gonzalez, third-base coach] said, 'Give it a shot.' Then everything, obviously, kind of unfolded the way it did, which was awesome run support. I'm never going to say no to that. ... It was a pretty awesome play, I was glad to be part of it."
Two of the three runs that scored on the play were earned, which gave the Marlins a 4-2 lead. In the top of the fifth, the Pirates had taken a 2-1 lead on Diaz's two-run homer off Peters.
Sprinting around the bases tested Rojas' stamina, but it was worth it.
"It was hard, I was giving 100 percent to get to second base, and then I had to get up and run from second to home, with this humid weather," Rojas said. "But I'm happy we got the W, and we got the lead right there and close the game."