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Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Jordan McPherson

Miami Marlins hold on to beat Philadelphia Phillies in home opener

MIAMI — As she was interviewed on the team broadcast during the third inning on Thursday, Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng was asked if she was excited that the home opener had finally arrived.

“Absolutely,” Ng said. “We need to score a few runs, but very excited.”

The Marlins, with a revamped lineup after four key offseason acquisitions, were scoreless at that point against the Philadelphia Phillies and had just 14 runs through their first five games of the season. Miami won one of those five games.

Ng only had to wait another inning for the team she constructed to pile on enough runs for the Marlins to hold onto a 4-3 win over the Phillies at loanDepot park.

After falling behind by a run early, Garrett Cooper hit a game-tying home run in the fourth inning that went a projected 414 feet to start a three-run rally. Jesus Sanchez immediately followed with a triple, pointing to the crowd as he slid head first into third base. An Avisail Garcia walk then set up Joey Wendle’s go-ahead two-run double to left.

Sanchez added an RBI single in the fifth for his third multi-hit game of the season.

It all backed up a strong outing by ace Sandy Alcantara, who held the Phillies (3-4) to just two run on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings.

Philadelphia hitters were aggressive against Alcantara early and tagged him for the only run he allowed by his seventh pitch. Kyle Schwarber sent an elevated fastball on a 1-0 count to right center for a double. He moved to third when J.T. Realmuto hit a middle-middle slider through the left side for a single and then scored when Bryce Harper, on a 1-2 count, hit a sacrifice fly to left field on a changeup.

The Phillies scattered five hits against Alcantara over his remaining 5 1/3 innings on the mound but went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position in that stretch. Of his 95 pitches, 67 went for strikes. The Phillies swung at 58 of those pitches that went for strikes — whiffing on 19, fouling off another 19 and putting 20 into play.

A Harper two-out double in the seventh against Steven Okert scored two runs — the first of which was charged to Alcantara, who left the game with Matt Vierling on first base — and cut Miami’s lead to just 4-3.

Anthony Bass got the final out in the seventh, Cole Sulser threw a scoreless eighth and Anthony bender pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

Bender worked around a pair of ninth-inning hits by getting Schwarber to hit into a double play and Harper to fly out to left field for the final out.

It was a textbook example of what the Marlins are hoping to accomplish this season.

Timely hitting complementing quality starting pitching while hoping the high-leverage-by-committee approach with the bullpen doesn’t backfire.

The goal now is for Miami to replicate that combination as often as possible.

For the most part, they couldn’t crack the equation on their season-opening road trip. Three of their four losses were decided by one run. Two rallies were thwarted by the bullpen in the final innings.

“More than anything,” manager Don Mattingly said pregame Thursday, “I hope they’ll just settle down a little bit. I feel like we’ve just been trying way too hard. I love our effort and what’s going on with it. I can just feel guys really wanting to do well. We have some guys with new teams that want to show people what they can do and things like that. You just don’t want [the early losses] to get extended, right? You just want to settle down, get into the groove, ride the wave a little bit and get into the season.”

They succeeded on that front Thursday.

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