It’s been a wild ride for the Marlins this season, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.
Making their first playoff appearance since 2003, the Marlins topped the Chicago Cubs 2-0 on Friday afternoon, sweeping the short three-game Wild Card series to advance to the National League Divisional Series.
The Marlins, who lost 105 games last season and had 18 players miss time early this season due to COVID-19, will face the Atlanta Braves in the next round of the postseason.
In Friday’s Game 2 win, the Marlins checked all the boxes that usually accompany playoff success — strong starting pitching, great bullpen work and clutch hitting. Locked in a pitchers duel, Miami first baseman Garrett Cooper broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning, blasting a solo home run to left off Yu Darvish to put the Marlins on top.
Three batters later, Miami tacked on an insurance run, courtesy of a Magneruris Sierra single, giving the Marlins a 2-0 lead. Usually a reserve player, Sierra got the start in center field with Starling Marte sidelined with a fractured left pinkie.
On the mound, Miami rookie standout Sixto Sanchez showed why he’s one of the top young pitchers in baseball. The 22-year-old right-hander delivered five shutout innings, allowing four hits and two walks, while striking out six. The flame-throwing rookie dialed up the velocity early, hitting triple digits 16 times during the game.
Following Sanchez’s strong outing, Miami’s bullpen rose to the occasion, tossing four shutout innings. Brad Boxberger, Richard Bleier, Yimi Garcia and Brandon Kintzler allowed just one baserunner of relied. Kintzler closed the door on the Cubs in the ninth to record the save.
With the series victory, the Marlins continued one of the most unique accomplishments in professional sports. During the 28-year history of the franchise, the Marlins have never lost a postseason series. Making its third-ever playoff appearance, Miami is now 7-0 following Friday’s win. The Marlins won the World Series in their two other postseason appearances in 1997 and 2003.
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