MIAMI -- A back-and-forth contest on Saturday night at Marlins Park was decided in an unconventional way. Melky Cabrera swung through strike three with two outs in the eighth inning, but the Kyle Barraclough pitch bounced short of home plate and deflected away from Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, allowing Dioner
MIAMI -- A back-and-forth contest on Saturday night at Marlins Park was decided in an unconventional way. Melky Cabrera swung through strike three with two outs in the eighth inning, but the Kyle Barraclough pitch bounced short of home plate and deflected away from Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, allowing Dioner Navarro to dash home with the go-ahead run of an 8-7 White Sox win.
Barraclough's second wild pitch in the inning capped a Chicago rally from a run down entering the eighth. Miami has now dropped three straight and four of five in the homestand, while falling a half-game behind St. Louis for the second National League Wild Card spot.
"I almost got out of it. But I still blew the lead, so it wasn't like I was getting out of anything," Barraclough said. "I was just preserving the tie. But that's not my job. It's to come in and hold the lead and turn it over to [Fernando] Rodney or A.J. [Ramos] or whoever is coming in the next inning. I didn't do my job tonight, and everyone else did theirs."
• Barraclough laments plays leading up to wild pitch
"We're second and third with no outs and all of a sudden we've got two outs and I just was trying to get a good jump," Navarro said. "I knew he was going to throw a breaking ball, so I was hoping for one there, and he did, and if he would have caught it, I would have been out, but he didn't. We caught a break right there."
• Navarro's heads-up play steals run, win
Giancarlo Stanton belted a solo homer and drove in three runs for Miami, while Martín Prado added a three-run homer off James Shields, who allowed seven runs on 10 hits in three-plus innings. But Miami's bullpen was unable to protect a two-run lead.
The loss was additionally costly for the Marlins because on the final out of the game, Stanton may have injured his groin while trying to stretch a single into a double.
"He felt something in his groin area," Miami manager Don Mattingly said. "We'll see what happens with that."
In the eighth inning, Justin Morneau delivered a pinch-hit RBI double that pulled the White Sox even at 7. Barraclough got two big outs, and on a 2-2 pitch to Cabrera with runners on second and third, the hard-throwing reliever got the strikeout he was seeking. But the pitch wasn't secured for the critical third out.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
One pitch, two big outs: In the sixth inning, the White Sox had pulled within a run and had the bases loaded and one out when Miami replaced Dustin McGowan with Nick Wittgren. With one pitch, a 91.3-mph four-seam fastball, Wittgren got Tyler Saladino to bounce into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play, preserving Miami's 7-6 advantage. Wittgren then worked a scoreless seventh inning, getting five pivotal outs.
Another first for Coats:Jason Coats picked up career RBI No. 1 with a single off Danny Duffy in Thursday's loss to the Royals. He added career home run No. 1 on Saturday, leading off the fourth against Conley and launching a 390-foot blast to left with an exit velocity of 101 mph, according to Statcast™. He also contributed career stolen base No. 1 in the ninth to go with two hits and a hit by pitch.
"Right off the bat I knew it had a chance," Coats said of the homer. "He got me out changeup first at-bat. He threw one down low that I laid off of, and I was kind of sitting on that pitch again, and he left it up over the plate that time. I had enough to get it out."
• Conley has sore hand, is being monitored
Shields continues to struggle: Shields was on a solid run throughout July with six straight quality starts, but the month of August has returned the veteran right-hander to tougher times. In three starts, counting Saturday's, Shields has allowed 21 runs on 25 hits over 9 1/3 innings. Six of those hits have been home runs, and he has two strikeouts and five walks.
"I just have to keep grinding," Shields said. "I made a couple of bad pitches. Obviously, the pitcher getting two hits didn't really help me out too much leading off the inning, so I have to do a better job of that. Last game was more location. I left a couple of balls over the plate today, but I have to go check the video out after we're done here and figure that out."
Stanton packs more power: The first pitch Stanton saw on Saturday, he blistered a drive over the wall in left-center. In vintage Stanton fashion, the baseball didn't take long to exit the park. Statcast™ projected the laser at 407 feet with an exit velocity of 105 mph. The launch angle was 20 degrees. The home run put Miami on the board after falling behind by four runs. There also was some historical value to the home run, because Stanton now has reached 25 home runs for the fifth time in his career, tying a club mark first held by Dan Uggla.
"Just to get one back, that kind of breaks the momentum and then gets you going," Mattingly said. "Then, obviously, Martin, the three-run homer."
"That was a great block by J.T., I thought. That's a short, short slider, that he threw really hard. Obviously, on the swing, he keeps it from getting back away from him. That's a tough, tough block. If we can finish that, that would be just a tremendous play." -- Mattingly, on Realmuto keeping Barraclough's eighth-inning wild pitch in front of him and still almost throwing out Navarro at the plate
"It's funny, my wife text me and she's like, 'I was nervous when you were facing Stanton.' I was like, 'Against the Blue Jays you have [Josh] Donaldson and [Edwin] Encarnacion, 20 home runs up and down the lineup. You didn't get nervous then?' And she was like, 'No.' -- A smiling Chris Beck, in regard to facing Stanton as his first batter in relief in the sixth on the way to his first career victory
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Derek Dietrich's penchant for being hit by pitches continued on Saturday. When he was plunked by Matt Albers in the fifth inning, it marked the 22nd time Dietrich was hit this season, and 52nd time in his career -- a franchise record.
After his RBI single gave the Marlins a 5-4 lead in the third inning, Realmuto attempted to steal second and was initially called out. But immediately the Miami catcher signaled to the dugout to give the play another look. The Marlins challenged, and after a review of two minutes and 20 seconds, the call was overturned, with replay showing Realmuto's hand got in before the tag.
With the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, the Marlins appeared to get a break when Adam Eaton's tapper toward first turned into a force of Tim Anderson at the plate. But White Sox manager Robin Ventura challenged the play, and a quick video review showed that Anderson's head-first slide clearly beat McGowan's throw home for the team's sixth run.
White Sox:Chris Sale stood as the first Major League pitcher to win 14 games this season, but he will be making his sixth attempt at win No. 15 on Sunday afternoon at 12:10 p.m. CT. Sale has a 6-2 record with a 2.54 ERA lifetime in Interleague Play.
Marlins: With José Fernández being skipped a start, Tom Koehler (9-8, 3.83) is getting the nod in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. ET series finale at Marlins Park. In Koehler's last four starts, he's 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.