After watching numerous scoring chances fall short in the first six innings, the ‘Why not us?’ Marlins finally broke through in the seventh, continuing their unlikely 2020 run.
Making its first playoff appearance since 2003, Miami rode a five-run seventh inning to top the Chicago Cubs, 5-1, in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series at Wrigley Field on Wednesday. The Marlins, who lost 105 games last season and had 18 players miss time early this season due to COVID-19, will look to clinch the truncated three-game set Thursday afternoon.
Miami’s offensive outburst came courtesy of two its offseason acquisitions. With the Marlins trailing, 1-0, in the seventh, veteran outfielder Corey Dickerson, who signed a two-year, $17.5 million contract, blasted a three-run homer off Kyle Hendricks to give Miami the lead. Two batters later, slugging first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who the Marlins claimed off waivers, deposited a two-run homer over the right field Ivy to extend the lead to, 5-1.
Prior to the seventh-inning onslaught, Miami stranded seven runners in the early goings of the afternoon contest.
On the mound, Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara turned in a gem in his postseason debut. The 25-year-old right-hander allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings, scattering three hits and three walks. His only blemish came in the fifth inning when Ian Happ connected for an opposite field home run. Alcantara, Miami’s All-Star representative in 2019, added four strikeouts to pace the team.
After exiting the game in seventh, Miami’s bullpen locked down the victory, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Offseason acquisitions Richard Bleier, Yimi Garcia and Brandon Kintzler combined to allow just one hit in relief.
With the victory, the Marlins continue to defy expectations. During spring training, president of baseball operations Michael Hill told reporters “Why not us?" when asked about the team’s chances during the 60-game shortened season.
This story will be updated.
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