MIAMI -- The stretch run is an opportunity for the young Marlins players to get a taste of what it takes to make it through a full, big league season. A couple of rookies who project to be part of the core for years to come did their part on
MIAMI -- The stretch run is an opportunity for the young Marlins players to get a taste of what it takes to make it through a full, big league season. A couple of rookies who project to be part of the core for years to come did their part on Monday in spoiling a late playoff push by the Nationals.
Lewis Brinson had two hits, an RBI and scored a run, while Magneuris Sierra added a two-run single in Miami's 8-5 comeback victory over the Nationals at Marlins Park.
"As long as they're continuing to play hard," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We've talked about it before. These guys are trying to show us that they are a good part of the future."
The Marlins overcame a four-run deficit and won back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 24-25. Starlin Castro added a two-run double and a solo home run.
Coming off a 2-7 road trip, the Marlins responded with a solid team win, as they improved to 59-91. Although they will finish in last place in the National League East, they dropped the Nationals to 76-75, keeping them 7 1/2 games behind the Braves and in third place in the division.
"It feels good because guys are still in the battle," Mattingly said. "That's one of the things. You want your team to still compete, no matter what the situation is on that given day. I think the guys have been pretty resilient."
Brinson put Miami in front for good with a bases-loaded single in the seventh inning. Miguel Rojas added a sacrifice fly in the inning.
"It's been a lot of work, a work in progress," said Brinson, who has scuffled most of the season but is showing positive signs in the final month. "It always is. I'm just trying to finish strong and help this team win as many games as we can down the stretch."
After falling behind by four, the Marlins rallied back and took the lead with three runs in the sixth. Sierra had a two-run single off Jimmy Cordero to tie it at 4. Wander Suero's balk, while making a pickoff attempt at first base on Sierra, plated Austin Dean to put Miami in front, 5-4. But the Nationals responded in the seventh to tie it, 5-5, on Trea Turner's RBI fielder's choice.
The Marlins got on the board in the fifth inning on Castro's two-run double off Erick Fedde, who was then lifted after 4 1/3 innings and 93 pitches. It was only Fedde's second hit allowed, but it trimmed Washington's lead to 4-2.
Marlins rookie Trevor Richards was tagged for four runs early but recovered enough to make it through five innings. The right-hander fanned six.
After breezing through the first inning on 12 pitches, including striking out Bryce Harper, Richards allowed a run in the second. In the third inning, the Nationals did damage with the long ball. Victor Robles led off with his first MLB home run, and Anthony Rendon belted a two-run homer.
"I honestly made two mistakes, and they ended up over the wall," Richards said. "Just something to build on. You can't make mistakes at this level inside the zone. Just executing pitches more consistently. Build on it, and keep going. We got a win out of it. The offense kept hitting, and it ended up being a great game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Marlins pulled even in the sixth inning on Sierra's two-run single. And Sierra's speed caused a balk by Suero, which scored Dean with the go-ahead run.
Sierra, 22, was acquired by Miami in the Marcell Ozuna trade, and his exceptional speed is something the organization is aiming to tap into. With Washington aiming to keep Sierra close to first base, Suero balked.
"I was just trying to stay aggressive," Sierra said through an interpreter. "When I was on first base, I was just trying to provoke the situation and get a balk."
"You hope his plate discipline continues to grow," Mattingly said. "And he continues to understand the strike zone and understand who he is. He needs to try to get on base. If he gets on base a lot, he's going to cause havoc. That's basically what we talk about with speed, it's going to challenge guys to go quicker."
Peter O'Brien is 6-for-24 with three doubles and two home runs since joining the team on Sept. 4.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Sierra is among the fastest players in the Majors, and he showed why in the fifth inning, scoring from first base on Castro's two-run double. Sierra, according to Statcast™, made it from first to home in 10.09 seconds, and he was moving at a clip of 29.3 feet per second. Anything over 30 feet per second is considered elite.
Sierra's average sprint speed is 30.1 feet per second, which is tied for second in the Majors. Sierra, actually, may have been able to top 30 feet per second, but he had Dean going from second to home, and he didn't chance running up the heels of his teammate.
"When the ball was hit to the gap, it was a big hit. I was on first base. I was going aggressively. It was one of those situations, if he got tired, I was going to pass [Dean]," Sierra joked.
HE SAID IT
"Brins got a big hit, Austin Dean had a big hit. Magneuris. It was nice to see those guys being able to contribute. A lot of good things, and the bullpen did a nice job. They got the outs they needed to get." -- Mattingly, summing up the night
Rookie Sandy Alcantara has shown plenty of promise since being called up. The 23-year-old has allowed two runs in 14 innings with 12 strikeouts in two September starts. Alcantara takes the mound on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET in the finale of a two-game series with the Nationals at Marlins Park. Stephen Strasburg goes for Washington.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.