Marlins walk off with win on Dietrich's triple; Cashner solid in debut

MIAMI, FL - JULY 31: Andrew Cashner #48 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park on July 31, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, CM - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **
MIAMI, FL - JULY 31: Andrew Cashner #48 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park on July 31, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, CM - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD ** (Rob Foldy / Getty Images)

Reinforcing that the last word is the one that endures, Derek Dietrich erased a pile of recent fruitless labor with one sweet and resounding swing of the bat Sunday.

When Dietrich's drive to left-center field with two outs in the ninth inning touched down between converging St. Louis Cardinals outfielders and rolled to the wall it set off one of the wildest celebrations yet seen at Marlins Park.


Dietrich's pinch-hit triple off Matt Bowman sent Adeiny Hechavarria racing home from first for a 5-4 win that boosted the Marlins to one game ahead of the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot in the National League.

Not only had Dietrich been supplanted earlier in the week at second base by the return of Dee Gordon from suspension, he was 0-for-22 on the homestand before propelling that 0-1 fastball for his first walk-off hit in the major leagues.

Dietrich, who filled in admirably during most of Gordon's 80-game absence, had been struggling since the All-Star break with a .085 average (4-for-47) after hitting .303 in the first half.

"I don't think it had anything to do with Dee coming back. I'm very competitive and I'm always looking to improve, and I think I put a little too much pressure on myself to be even better this second half than I already was," said Dietrich, who had his jersey ripped off by jubilant teammates in the aftermath.

"It was a great feeling when it left the bat and I saw it drop, so I'm just glad I had that opportunity. I'm just having so much fun with this group of guys."

The Marlins gained a split on the weekend with back-to-back wins to take the season series 4-3 from the Cardinals for only the fifth time in their history. They also ended the homestand 5-5.

"Any time you can have a good series like that against the Cardinals it's big," Dietrich said. "We got another really good pitcher that we got to see today. Very impressive, so it just solidifies our rotation a little bit more and makes an even better team than we already are."

Yes, first impressions are important too, and newly acquired Andrew Cashner did his part with a solid effort in his first turn since being acquired Friday from the San Diego Padres in a seven-player trade.

The veteran right-hander was in line to get the decision over a tough opponent in Carlos Martinez after holding the Cardinals to two runs (one earned) and four hits in six innings.

Reliever Fernando Rodney, obtained in an earlier trade with the Padres, let a two-run lead slip away in the eighth inning.

"I think it was just more getting here was the hard part, going from the West Coast to the East Coast," Cashner said. "Flight got canceled Friday night. Got out the next day at 5:30 in the morning. It was a long couple of days."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly said all of that was why he lifted Cashner after 82 pitches. He had retired 12 of 13 batters after giving up a home run to Greg Garcia leading off the third.

Cashner had also endured the arduous task of shaving off a massive beard to comply with the Marlins' rule against facial hair.

"It took a while. It was not fun," he said. "It started bleeding a little bit. It's been a while since my face has seen sun."


The ballpark roof kept Cashner from feeling the burn and he was treated to the fun of the joyous celebration while watching on television in the clubhouse.

"Excited to be here. It's a great young team and I'm just here to do my part," Cashner said. "I don't think there was ever a thought of there's a chance to lose. The energy from the moment I got here, it's been awesome.

"It just boils down to making pitches for me — just stay down in the zone and let the defense work."

Rodney was one strike away from getting out of the eighth with the lead intact when Stephen Piscotty stroked a 0-2 changeup into the corner in left for a run-scoring double. Piscotty was able to come all the way home with the tying run after Hechavarria airmailed the relay into the stands in a futile attempt to throw out Tommy Pham at the plate.

Hechavarria atoned with his two-out single that preceded Dietrich's winning hit.

There is no way to assess a big trade on a single weekend of results. The Marlins could feel much better about the early returns on the deal with the Padres if Colin Rea hadn't aborted a promising start Saturday with elbow soreness. He was placed on the disabled list Sunday and is scheduled for an MRI on Monday.

A disappointing note for fans, the team's marketing department and a sizable Japanese media contingent, Ichiro Suzuki remained stuck a 2,998 hits.

Ichiro came up as a pinch hitter with a runner on in the seventh and, with the crowd of 23,666 standing and chanting his name, popped out to first base on a 2-2 fastball from Martinez. He went 2-for-17 on the homestand.

Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto provided the early offensive impetus for Miami with two RBI apiece off Martinez.

They got to the Cardinals starter quickly, as they did the previous day for Rea, putting up a crooked number in the first inning for Cashner. It was again Ozuna with the most damaging hit.

Ozuna, who hit a two-run home run in the first Saturday, just missed his third homer in three days but had the same impact with a two-run double high off the wall in left-center. He scored when Realmuto followed with another run-scoring hit., Twitter @CraigDavisRuns