Despite Soler’s four hits, Marlins can’t keep up with Giants and drop series finale
The Miami Marlins had the rally attempt going and the player they wanted at the plate. Jorge Soler stepped into the batter’s box with two outs in the ninth inning, representing the game-tying run. He had already hit a walk-off home run earlier this week and had four hits on the day heading into that at-bat Sunday. His confidence, understandably, was high.
The slugger, however, couldn’t make the final play. With a 3-0 count, he got under a middle-away Camilo Doval sinker for a game-ending flyout to right field.
And so it goes.
The Marlins dropped their series finale to the San Francisco Giants 7-5 on Sunday at Oracle Park.
“I was feeling very confident in that at-bat,” Soler said. “I was able to take some good pitches, but when he went with the fastball, I wasn’t able to hit it.”
Miami (24-23) lost two of three games to the Giants (22-24) to start a three-city, 10-game road trip. San Francisco won the series opener 4-3 on Friday and Miami won the middle game 1-0 on Saturday.
The Giants took the lead for good with two runs in the sixth inning on a Mitch Haniger RBI single that knocked Marlins starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo out of the game and Patrick Bailey sacrifice bunt against reliever Andrew Nardi. They tacked on another run in the eighth on a Casey Schmitt RBI single against Steven Okert.
Luzardo’s final line: Six earned runs allowed on six hits and a walk while striking out eight through five-plus innings (he faced two batters in the sixth without logging an out). Before the two runs in the sixth, he gave up home runs to Bailey in the first and J.D. Davis in the third as well as a third-inning RBI double to Thairo Estrada.
“Outside of the third, I felt like [the start] wasn’t terrible,” Luzardo said. “Obviously I made some mistakes. Overall not happy with that. When the offense does what they did and they score a lot of runs and the give you the lead, as a pitcher, your job is to maintain leads. I take responsibility for that loss. I didn’t do what I needed to do.”
Soler, the Marlins’ slugging outfielder/designated hitter, went 4 for 5 with a home run, three RBI and a run scored in the loss. It was his first four-hit game since Sept. 11, 2019, while playing for the Kansas City Royals and fourth four-hit game of his career overall.
Soler opened scoring in the first inning when he launched a 436-foot home run to left field. Soler now has 12 home runs on the season, nine of which have come in Luzardo starts.
He then hit RBI singles in the third and fifth innings to make the score 2-1 and 4-4, respectively.
“I was just going out there to swing at good pitches,” Soler said. “All the hits came along.”
Nick Fortes added a solo home run in the fourth inning and the Marlins got within two on a Jon Berti single combined with a Bailey throwing error in the ninth that scored Joey Wendle to bring up Soler with a chance to tie the score or at least keep the rally going.
“That’s the guy we wanted at that time,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “Doval is not easy to hit off. That’s one of the better closers in the game. It feels like he pitches every game, too, which is tough. ... Soler hit the ball hard every time.”
But that wasn’t enough to keep up with the Giants, and Miami spoiled a few opportunities to tack on more.
Like in the fifth inning, after Soler’s second RBI single. Miami had runners on the corners, Berti at third and Soler at first, and two outs with Bryan De La Cruz at the plate. On an 0-2 count, Soler broke trying to go to second base and got caught in a rundown. That prompted Berti to break for home, but Giants second baseman Estrada threw home to Bailey and got Berti into an eventual inning-ending rundown of his own between third and home.
“Trying to steal a run there,” Schumaker said.
They stranded two more in the sixth and had a leadoff single in the seventh erased by a double play..
The Marlins head to Denver to continue this three-city road trip for a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies starting Monday. After that, it’s a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels starting Friday.