PHOENIX – The Miami Marlins have found themselves on the losing end of most close games this year.
They may have found a solution: blowouts.
Miami turned a competitive afternoon into a comfortable win Wednesday, riding big swings by Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Avisail Garcia to an eight-run ninth inning and an 11-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Definitely a sigh of relief,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Hopefully that little breakout at the end can get us rolling.”
The Marlins avoided a three-game sweep and won for just the second time in their past 11 games. The D-backs had their three-game winning streak snapped.
Miami controlled most of the game until the eighth, when Arizona pinch hitter Jordan Luplow connected for a tying two-run homer against Steven Okert.
The Marlins have already lost 10 one-run games this season, and it looked as if another heartbreak might be coming.
But Miami responded quickly – and decisively – off Mark Melancon. Catcher Jacob Stallings entered the game hitting just .183 but came up big in the ninth, hitting a single that put the Marlins back in front. Chisholm then drove a low pitch out to left-center, barely clearing the wall for a three-run blast that pushed Miami’s lead to 7-3.
It was Chisholm’s sixth homer of the season. Anthony Bass (1-1) got one out for the win.
It has been a rough stretch for Melancon (0-4), the veteran closer who signed a $14 million, two-year deal with the Diamondbacks during the offseason. He has surrendered eight runs over his last three outings.
“We ran out of gas in the ninth,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “I was proud of the way the guys fought to tie the game.”
Garcia capped the Miami’s big ninth with another three-run shot off J.B. Wendelken. It was Garcia’s second at-bat of the inning after he started the rally with a walk.
“We never give up,” Chisholm said. “The guys were showing everybody a taste of what you’ll see when everyone’s really is ready to go. Some guys are still working on some things and not in midseason form, but when you see stuff like that today, it just shows the promise of what we’ve got going into the future.”
Joey Wendle got the Marlins on the board in the first with a two-run shot down the right-field line that landed in the visitor’s bullpen. Miami tacked on another run in the second on an RBI single from Stallings.
Luplow’s homer denied a win for Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara, who permitted one run and two hits over seven innings.
D-backs rookie Alek Thomas hit his first career homer in the third, a solo shot over the 413-foot sign in center, but that was the team’s only hit until the seventh.
Arizona starter Merrill Kelly gave up three runs over five innings. The right-hander has been one of baseball’s best pitchers through the first five weeks of the season with a 1.22 ERA, but he struggled in his first two innings.
FINALLY, BEER PREVAILS
D-backs designated hitter Seth Beer snapped an 0-for-37 streak with a single in the seventh.
Beer got off to a great start this season – hitting a game-winning homer on opening day – but has been in a prolonged funk. It was his first hit since April 22.
Marlins: Wendle left in the third inning with right hamstring tightness.
Marlins: Return home for a nine-game homestand starting Friday with a three-game series against the Brewers. The Marlins will start RHP Pablo Lopez (4-1, 1.00 ERA) in the first game. The Brewers will counter with RHP Corbin Burnes (1-2, 1.86 ERA).
Diamondbacks: Open a three-game series against the Cubs on Friday. RHP Zach Davies (1-1, 3.34 ERA) will be on the mound for the first game. The visiting Cubs will start LHP Drew Smyly (1-3, 3.04 ERA).