'Unbelievable' Thompson K's 6, earns first 'W'

June 13th, 2021

It was supposed to be a bullpen day for the Marlins on Saturday afternoon at loanDepot park. But right-hander Zach Thompson gave Miami five shutout innings and helped the team defeat the Braves, 4-2.

Thompson, who picked up his first big league win, allowed four hits and struck out six batters in his second game of his career. Four of those strikeouts came on cutters.

"I mean, he was throwing it over. Just attacking the strike zone pretty much. His last start I watched, he was up in the zone a lot with his cutter and slider, and he kind of kept the ball down better today, and we couldn't do anything with him," said Braves manager Brian Snitker.

Thompson also showed that he could get out of pressure situations. In the second inning, for example, the Braves had runners on second and third with one out. But Thompson was able to get out of the inning by striking out William Contreras and getting Ender Inciarte to pop out to end the threat.

“Unbelievable. For him to come out there and give us five innings like he did, put zeros on the board, the bullpen needed that. It really helped us out big time,” said Dylan Floro, who picked up his second save of the season.

During postgame interviews, Thompson recognized how big it was to beat a rival in the National League East.

“They have a good lineup. I know what this team [means] to us,” Thompson said. “I also have a good family friend. He is a massive Braves fan. … I sent him a text right away. I said, ‘How do you like that?’"

Thompson was also able to collect his first big league hit -- a single to right field off Braves starter Max Fried. It was the first time he had swung a bat in years.

“Just to be able to make contact, I told [Dansby] Swanson, ‘Man, I just swung and hoped I hit it and I did,’” Thompson said.

As far as getting his first big league win, Thompson said, “I don’t know if it has truly hit me yet. I’m sure it will shortly.”

The Marlins gave Thompson enough run support to earn the victory. The Marlins took a 1-0 lead off Fried in the first inning, when Jazz Chisholm Jr. scored on a sacrifice fly by Jesús Aguilar.

Miami then used the long ball to increase the lead. In the fourth inning, Adam Duvall hit a monster home run over the left-center wall to make it a 2-0 game.

An inning later, Lewin Díaz, pinch-hitting for Thompson, made it a three-run game by hitting his first Major League home run off Fried. Díaz was sitting on a breaking ball. Once he hit it, he knew it was gone.

“It’s a beautiful feeling. It’s very special, being able to hit that ball and get a home run. It’s something I can’t explain. It’s just a beautiful feeling,” Díaz said via interpreter Luis Dorante Jr.

The Braves made it interesting in the eighth inning. Freddie Freeman made it a one-run game by hitting a two-run homer off right-hander Anthony Bass.

But Miami was able to add an insurance run in the eighth inning off Braves right-hander Edgar Santana. Starling Marte came home on a soft single to right field by Aguilar.

“With these guys, you know [the Braves] are going to keep coming. When they break out, they usually break out big,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “So every run you can get, you feel better about.”