Phelps walks tightrope, escapes crucial 8th

Marlins reliever loads bases with none out, gets double play and strikeout

Phelps walks tightrope, escapes crucial 8th

SAN FRANCISCO -- Just when the lead and perhaps the game were on the brink of slipping away, David Phelps executed the pitch of the game -- a 94 mph two-seam fastball that regained momentum for the Marlins in their 5-4 win over the Giants on Sunday at AT&T Park.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth inning, Phelps got Angel Pagan to tap back to the mound, and the reliever was able to start a 1-2-3 double play.

Anywhere else on the infield, the game is tied, and the Giants are threatening to add on.

"I'm just thinking right there, bases loaded, no outs, popup," Phelps said. "I'm thinking more popup than double play there because double play anywhere else ties the game.

"You get the ball coming back to you and your eyes get kind of big. As soon as that happens, then you realize you've got a good chance of getting out of it."

Phelps starts big double play

Even after getting two outs on one pitch, Phelps still had work to do. The Giants had runners on second and third for Joe Panik, who had a triple and single earlier in the game.

But on three pitches, Phelps was able to strike out Panik looking at a 94 mph two-seamer.

"On Panik, he just made the perfect pitch and punched him out," Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto said.

Realmuto's home run in the top of the eighth put Miami in front.

But Phelps got into a bind by walking Brandon Crawford and allowing a single to Gregor Blanco, putting runners at the corners. Denard Span drew a walk, filling the bases.

"I was warming up when J.T. hit the home run, and it got me pretty pumped up out there," Phelps said. "I came in the game and I was overthrowing a little bit."

Realmuto's go-ahead homer

After striking out Panik, Phelps showed some emotion as he headed back to the dugout.

"It's exciting because you're keeping the run from crossing the plate," Phelps said. "I've had a few of those in my career. I like big situations. I kind of feed off it. For our team, winning games right now is huge. I didn't want to go out there and cough it up right there for us."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.