Late-innings comeback pushes Marlins into 2nd place in NL East
By Evan Webeck
PHILADELPHIA -- "Martin. Prado. The hero!"
Jose Fernandez, the man who struck out 14 Phillies, couldn't contain himself once the hero arrived at his locker. A minute later, Prado was turning and pointing at the protein powder in his locker that helped propel his 11th-inning blast over the left-field wall to give the Marlins a 3-2 win over the Phillies. Even the best pitching performances, like Prado, need a little boost.
Prado wasn't yet the hero when the Marlins mounted their first ninth-inning comeback of the season. When Jeanmar Gomez trotted through the bullpen door in center field at the start of the ninth inning, the Marlins were 0-40 when trailing after eight innings. Not long after Brett Oberholtzer walked off the field after the 11th, they improved to 1-40.
It took a double from Christian Yelich and singles from J.T. Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna in the ninth to give Prado a chance two innings later. He took strike three with Realmuto on first before Yelich ripped a double into center that brought the catcher home to bring the Fish within one. Giancarlo Stanton walked and manager Don Mattingly had Yefri Perez pinch-run for him.
"We get a ball in the gap right there, and he scores from first," Mattingly said. "Or he can run into an out."
Odubel Herrera nabbed Perez trying for third on a hard single off Ozuna's bat, but Yelich had already crossed the plate and sent the game to the bottom of the ninth with extras -- and heroics -- to come.
Around the time Yelich scored the tying run, the Mets' 5-1 loss at Wrigley Field had just gone final. Miami completed its comeback minutes later to take hold of second place in the National League East and the second NL Wild Card spot.
"You kinda feel like you stole that one, but that's what you've gotta do to be a good team," Yelich said. "That was a big win for us."
Not only does the win push them fully into the playoff picture, but finishing off a late-inning comeback also gives the team a sense that it belongs. Like Yelich said, this is what good teams do.
Mattingly, however, downplayed the impact of the come-from-behind momentum boost.
"I think it gives you confidence from the standpoint that you're not out of games," he said. "That gets overplayed a little bit. I think winning some important games is good for the club, but then tomorrow's another day. Three days from now, if you lose three in a row, this win means nothing."
In three days, Fernandez's 14-K game will just be another Jose Fernandez 14-K game. If those are losses, the Marlins may have again flipped with the Mets in the standings. But on Monday, Martin Prado was the hero.
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.