The Marlins hit three home runs in a nine-run fifth inning on Wednesday during an 11-4 victory over the Dodgers, the hosts’ sixth win in a row. That came after Miami hit four home runs Tuesday in a 6-3 victory over Los Angeles.
Far from a power-hitting team, the Marlins rank 24th in the majors with 142 home runs. However, they have socked 15 homers over the past six games as they push for a playoff berth.
The Marlins hold a half-game lead on the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cincinnati Reds for the final National League wild-card spot with 3 1/2 weeks remaining.
The convincing Wednesday night victory improved the Marlins‘ mood after reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara (strained right forearm) and slugger Jorge Soler (strained right oblique) went on the injured list earlier in the day.
“Sandy’s our ace; he’s a stallion and every time he takes the ball you feel confident behind him,” Miami shortstop Joey Wendle said on the Bally Sports South broadcast after he hit the first of the three home runs. “Seeing him go on the IL is not ideal. But we’re just going to keep playing our game and hopefully he’s able to come back and we get good news.”
Miami will count on left-hander Braxton Garrett (8-5, 3.86 ERA) to set the tone in the series finale. Garrett helped the Marlins kick off the current winning streak by allowing one run over six innings in a victory over the Washington Nationals on Aug. 31.
Garrett went 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA in six August starts. One of the losses came on the road against the Dodgers on Aug. 19 in the second game of a doubleheader, when he gave up three runs over six innings. It was his first start against Los Angeles in two career appearances. Two years ago, he yielded three runs to the Dodgers in a three-inning relief outing.
Los Angeles’ pitching situation took a blow this week. Left-hander Julio Urias, arrested and charged with felony domestic violence, was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday and isn’t likely to pitch for the team again this season.
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw was off the mark on Tuesday as he deals with residual shoulder soreness, and right-hander Lance Lynn continues to struggle with the long ball, giving up the three Marlins home runs on Wednesday. Lynn leads the majors with 40 homers allowed this season.
Urias was scheduled to start the Thursday game, but the Dodgers instead will turn to right-hander Ryan Pepiot (0-1, 1.29). After dealing with an oblique injury in the first half, Pepiot is set to take over a significant role down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Pepiot has made two career appearances against the Marlins, including a five-inning relief outing Aug. 19 in the first game of a doubleheader, when he gave up one run on three hits. He started against Miami on Aug. 21, 2002, and earned a win after tossing six innings of two-run ball.
After a 24-5 August, the Dodgers are 1-4 in September. One of the recent bright spots came from Jason Heyward. The veteran went 3-for-4 with a home run on Wednesday and also made a catch while clinging to the right field wall when the Marlins had the bases loaded.
“There was not a whole lot of good that came out of tonight outside of Jason’s performance,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Defensively, he made a great catch in right field and the three hits. … There were some mental mistakes, and we just didn’t play good baseball.”
—Field Level Media
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