BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
Prior to the All-Star Break, the Miami Marlins saw plenty of the Keystone State (Pennsylvania) as the team hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Only in the National League will you see that since the Senior Circuit has both Pennsylvania teams.
How would the Marlins make out?
On Monday, July 11, the Pirates defeated the Fish, 5-1.
On Tuesday, July 12, Pittsburgh edged Miami, 3-2.
On Wednesday, July 13, the fans got to see extra baseball as Miami nipped the Pirates, 5-4 in 10 innings.
Could the Marlins split the final game of the series at Loan Depot Park on Thursday, July 14?
You bet and the Marlins came away with a 3-2 triumph over the Pirates in 11 innings.
More extra baseball.
Here are some of the things that stood out in this contest.
First, when Japanese players come to town, they bring media with them.
The Pirates clean-up hitter who is the designated hitter, was Yosi Tsutsugo.
He had a single, scored a run in the 11th inning as a ghost runner, but also struck out three times.
This game was a pitcher’s duel as Marlins starter Braxton Garrett and Zach Thompson each went six innings.
Garrett went on to pitch six shutout innings to go along with his career high 11 strikeouts, yielding just two walks. He did receive a no-decision.
With Garrett out of the game and the Marlins leading 1-0, the Pirates scored two runs on Miami’s bullpen, with one in the eighth and another in the 11th inning to take a 2-1 advantage.
Baseball is at it’s best when there are dramatics and that happened in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Jesus Aguilar was the Marlins ghost runner on second base and Avisail Garcia singled. This allowed Aguilar to move to third, thus there were runners at the corners.
This set the stage for Brian Anderson.
Pirates hurler Will Crowe hit Anderson, but the Pirates challenged this saying the ball hit the edge of the bat. This loaded the bases, but the call was reversed and Anderson returned to the batters box.
Pittsburgh did win the challenge and Anderson took matters in his own hands with another chance to give the Marlins a win.
He hit the game winning triple that allowed Aguilar and Garcia to score and the Marlins walked off with a dramatic 3-2 triumph. Miami did split the series, 2-2.
After the win, Miami’s record improved to 43-45, while Pittsburgh dropped to 38-52.
Could the Marlins take this two game winning streak and win the final series before the All-Star Break against the Philadelphia Phillies?
The answer was no as Philadelphia went on to sweep the three-game series.
The Phillies won the opener on Friday, July 15, 2-1.
Saturday marked the debut for Marlins top pitching prospect Max Meyer and the Phillies put a five-spot on the rookie and rolled to a 10-0 win on Saturday, July 16th.
The game we attended was on Sunday, July 17th and the Marlins were on the final game of a stretch of 30 games in 31 days from June 17 to July 17 (start of the All-Star Break) in which they only had one day off on June 30) going 15-14.
The final game against the Phillies saw the Fish play 17 straight days.
Miami threw hurler Trevor Rogers against the Phillies and he gave up four runs in the fourth frame. That was all Phillies needed as starter Aaron Nola was fantastic in a 4-0 win. This game took 2:38 minutes to complete.
Nola pitched 8.1 innings, yielded only four hits and stuck out 10 Marlins.
If not for singles by Joey Wendle and Brian Anderson, this looked like a complete game but Jose Alvarado came in and notched his first save.
For Nola, this was his 25th career 10 strike out game.
Nola would improve to 6-7 while Rogers dropped to 4-9.
Aguilar’s All-Star break would come early as he was ejected in the second game for arguing balls and strikes. There were plenty of Phillies fans wearing red and white cheering on the team that plays its games on I-95 North.
The Marlins limped into the All-Star Break being outscored by the Phillies in the three-game series 16-1.
Miami’s record going into the All-Star Break was 43-48.
A crowd of 12,450 were on hand and another 464 dogs attended for Bark at the Park Day.
When the Marlins returned from the All-Star Break on Thursday July 21, the Fish hosted the Texas Rangers and lost an 8-0 decision and lost their fourth game in a row.
But that streak came to an end on Friday on Friday, July 22 as the Fish saw their bats wake up and pummeled the Pirates 8-1 to improve their record to 44-49.
Garrett pitched six sharp innings and the Marlins ended their 37-inning scoreless streak.
Garrett (2-3) beat the Pirates for the second time in eight days by pitching one-run ball and allowing two hits.
He struck out seven and walked one despite throwing 28 pitches in the first inning before settling in to give Miami a much needed win.
Miami can continue their winning ways against Pittsburgh today and tomorrow to complete the Keystone State pre and post All-Star Game part of their schedule.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.
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