Miami, Fl – A rocky sixth inning doomed an otherwise impressive start from Zac Gallen (0-0, 1.80 ERA) as the Miami Marlins‘ ninth-inning rally fell short, losing to the Washington Nationals 7-5 Wednesday night at Marlins Park. The 23-year-old rookie was cruising and bruising opposing hitters for five innings on an eventful evening that saw him record his first ever major league hit while setting a career-high eight strikeouts.
Gallen was opposed by Patrick Corbin (6-5, 3.90 ERA) in what amounted to a pitchers duel. Both starting hurlers kept the other team from producing much at the plate. After a relatively quiet two innings, the Marlins broke through first. After Corbin retired the first two batters, Zac Gallen recorded the team’s first hit of the night with a liner towards center to get things started in the third.
He’ll remember this one for the rest of his life.
Leadoff man, Miguel Rojas drew a walk to put Gallen in scoring position. Harold Ramirez then hit a hard liner to left field. Juan Soto got a glove on it but the ball bounced right back out, allowing Gallen to come around third to score.
Let's goo MAArlins clapclap clapclapclap— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) June 27, 2019
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It was the team’s high point of the game. For those who may not remember, Gallen made his MLB debut at St. Louis on June 20th. Although he got a no-decision, the young Marlin gave up just one run on five hits through five innings of work. He also struck out six and walked two.
Prior to getting promoted to the big show, Gallen was tearing it up in Triple-A New Orleans. He brandished a red-hot 9-1 record with a 1.77 ERA through 14 starts. The youngster held opposing hitters to a lowly .153 batting average and recorded an eye-catching 112 strikeouts and 17 walks. When he got the call, Gallen led the minors in wins, strikeouts, innings (91.1), average against and WHIP (0.71). He also led the Pacific Coast League in ERA.
Unfortunately, the kid’s night was cut short after giving up three straight base hits in the sixth, including a light flyball to center-fielder, Cesar Puello, that fell just in front of him. Washington had tied it. Wei-Yin Chen came in for relief, only to give up a three-run blast to Matt Adams, his 11th of the season. Gallen finished his second start with five innings pitched, giving up three earned runs on four hits and eight strikeouts. He was charged with the loss. His ERA is now at 3.60.
Meanwhile, Corbin tossed a gem limiting the Marlins to just a single run and three measly hits over seven innings of work. He also fanned nine, including his 1,000th career strikeout back in the second inning against Puello. The Nats tacked on three more runs in the ninth to seemingly ice this one.
Then Miami made things pretty interesting. After Neil Walker drew a walk to load the bases, Bryan Holaday hit a two-out single to right field to make it 7-2. Washington had seen enough and replaced Javy Guerra with Sean Doolittle. Curtis Granderson kept it going with a bases-clearing triple to put the Marlins to within two. Of 95 career triples, this was his fourth with the bases juiced. The last one? June 3rd, 2009 for the Detroit Tigers against the Boston Red Sox. The rally was extinguished after JT Riddle struck out to end the game.
Coming home after a promising road trip where the team went 5-2, including a sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Marlins have dropped two straight. They will look to salvage the series tomorrow before hosting the Phils this weekend.
📸Credit: Tony Capobianco