The Miami Marlins are finding new depths with their freefall.
They lost Tuesday, again on a walk-off hit and this time against the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-8 in 15 innings at Citizens Bank Park. Kyle Barraclough blew a save in the ninth and Brian Ellington blew a save in the 10th before Philly’s Nick Williams eventually ended it with a double into the left-field corner to score Aaron Altherr.
This was the Marlins’ third consecutive walk-off loss and fourth in five games, following a miserable series in Atlanta over the weekend. Miami is 2-13 since Aug. 28.
“This one hurts,” Barraclough said.
Without closer Brad Ziegler, who is sidelined indefinitely with back issues, the Marlins have had trouble in the late innings.
Barraclough, long billed as a potential future closer, has failed in his first couple of opportunities as one. He also lost Saturday against the Braves, walking in the winning run.
Manager Don Mattingly said the past few days will not deter him from using Barraclough in the closer’s role.
“We’ve had two years of Claw being really good,” Mattingly said. “He’s had too big a body of work to let a couple of outings kind of get away.
“Really, in the end, I think this will end up being good for him. Probably didn’t feel good for him right now, but it’s something that I think he’ll grow right through this and it’s going to make him better and tougher as we go forward.”
Said Barraclough: “He knows I’m going to work through it. There’s nothing much more to say than that. It’s good to hear, but I still didn’t get the job done.”
This walk-off loss was different from the others in that the Marlins watched their opponent celebrate twice.
In the ninth, Hyun Soo Kim singled to right to score the tying run and, the Phillies thought, the winning run. They mobbed Kim at first base as Mattingly asked the umpires to review the close call on Cesar Hernandez at the plate. The replays agreed with the Marlins: out. Giancarlo Stanton’s third outfield assist of the game kept Miami alive — for a couple of more innings.
“We never thought the game was over,” Miguel Rojas said.
Javy Guerra allowed the game-winning in the 15th — shortly after midnight, 4 hours and 57 minutes after first pitch — to cap an ugly night for the Marlins’ relievers. Dustin McGowan got three outs and allowed three runs. Drew Steckenrider allowed an unearned run of his own plus one he inherited from McGowan to score. Then came Barraclough and Ellington.
Between the blown savs, Marcell Ozuna homered in the top of the 10th, a no-doubter to left-center that he made sure to watch for a moment before dropping his bat and heading toward base.
“Ozo getting that big run, giving us an opportunity to win the game. … First and foremost, as far as an emotional standpoint, it really sucks for this team,” Ellington said. “From a baseball standpoint, I have to be smarter than that.”
Ellington was referring to the game-tying homer he allowed to Rhys Hoskins. On a 2-0 count, Ellington gave Hoskins a 100-mph fastball down the middle. Hoskins hammered it to center for his second homer of the game and 16th in 32 major league games.
“I probably let a little bit of my want, my drive get in the way of thinking through that situation and saying, ‘OK, this is the one guy in the lineup I don’t want to beat us here,” Ellington said. “Even if you walk that guy, that’s OK there.”
Early on, plenty good happened for Miami.
J.T. Realmuto had a solid game, finishing 2 for 6 with a pair of RBI doubles, two runs scored and a walk. It was his third multi-hit effort in a row and fourth in the past week.
Phillies righty Nick Pivetta started strong but faltered in the middle innings, allowing seven runs in five innings.
Rookie left-hander Dillon Peters labored at times but got through six innings, holding the Phillies to two runs. Peters tossed a combined 47 pitches in the third and fourth frames, and on the night walked four, hit two more, threw a wild pitch and allowed six hits. He also struck out four batters.
He settled in late, benefitting from two of Stanton’s assists from right.
“That was actually really impressive,” Mattingly said of Peters. “Even more impressive than his [debut Sept. 1] where he goes seven and doesn’t give up anything. This is one that you know he wasn’t quite right and hangs in there. That tells you a lot about him.”
Realmuto wasn’t alone in backing Peters. Justin Bour (2 for 4) and Rojas (2 for 6) each had a couple of hits, and Derek Dietrich homered in the fifth.
Dee Gordon (3 for 7) extended his career-high hit streak to 15 games.
In the end, none of it was good enough this time.
“We have to finish games. That’s something we have to get better at,” Rojas said. “We have to learn from it. We have to move forward. We have to understand that this is a game that we have to finish, every day. It’s not playing for six, seven innings. I’m talking defensively, offensively, running the bases. We have to play for nine innings, 27 outs, up and down.”
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