Marlins bats wake up late but can’t complete rally. Miami drops series against Red Sox.

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MIAMI — Kevin Plawecki, with a full count, the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, turned on Jose Urena’s 94.8 mph low and inside sinker and watched the ball skip to the left side of the infield. The ball bounced past Brian Anderson’s diving glove and into left field. Two runners scampered home.

It was the lone blemish of Urena’s best start of the season, but with the Miami Marlins’ bats going cold again until the final innings, that lone blemish put Miami behind. A Rafael Devers home run against Johan Quezada gave the Boston Red Sox all the insurance they needed to come away with a 5-3 win Thursday at Marlins Park and take two of three in the series. Boston won the series opener 2-0 on Tuesday, with Miami winning 8-4 on Wednesday.

It also amplifies the importance of the final three days of this homestand. Miami, now 25-23 on the season, are three games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. The Marlins play five games against the Washington Nationals starting Friday, including doubleheaders on Friday and Sunday. They will need to win at least two of those games to have a winning record over the 15-game homestand and go at least 3-2 to head into the final week of the regular season with a winning record.

Sixto Sanchez, the Marlins’ top prospect, will start one of the two doubleheader games on Friday.


Until that Plawecki hit, the Marlins were seeing the Urena they’ll need down the home stretch of the season.

Dialed in. Commanding his pitches. Getting ahead in counts and getting out of jams. The rust from his coronavirus-related layoff is gone.

“We need this guy to be like the other guys,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said pregame. “He’s one of our big boys. He has to be able to go five, six innings every time. You have to feel like you’re going to get a good outing every time out and not put your bullpen in jeopardy.”

He found himself in trouble in the first, giving up back-to-back singles to Alex Verdugo and Devers to start the game but quickly got out of the jam with strikeouts to Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez and a weak popout from Plawecki.

“That was huge jam for me to get out of there,” Urena said.

Urena went on to retire 10 consecutive batters, four via strikeout, then erased a one-out walk to Martinez in the fourth with a double play and continued on with a scoreless fifth.

The Red Sox loaded the bases in the sixth on a Devers fielder’s choice, Bogaerts single and Martinez walk before Plawecki drove home Devers and Bogaerts with his groundball single to left.

Despite Urena giving up the two runs in the sixth, Mattingly said he thought Urena was “really good today.”

“The ball had a lot of movement,” Mattingly said. “Gets out of that first (inning). That’s one of those things I mark on my card as one of those game-changing innings, getting out of that.”

Devers added a three-run shot off Quezada, turning on an 86.8 mph slider and sending it 403 feet to right-center field, in the seventh to push Boston’s lead to five before Miami began its rally attempt.

“I can’t chase every game with my back end guys,” Mattingly said about using Quezada in the seventh. “ … We had guys down today. There’s times like that when everyone’s going to have to do their part. Gotta use those guys.”

The first four Marlins hitters reached base in the seventh on a Garrett Cooper single, Miguel Rojas walk, Jorge Alfaro pinch-hit RBI single and Chad Wallach RBI double. Starling Marte drove in another run with an RBI groundout two at-bats later.

The Marlins had two hits before that seventh inning, a Cooper double and Rojas single to lead off the fifth against Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi. Both runners were stranded when Eovaldi struck out Jazz Chisholm and Wallach and then got Corey Dickerson to ground out and strand both runners. Marlins batters struck out 12 times.


Rookie Nick Neidert, the 11th-ranked prospect in the Marlins organization, threw two scoreless innings for the Marlins on Thursday in his first appearance since returning from COVID-19. He allowed just one hit and struck out three.

Neidert, a career starter in the minor leagues who is being used out of the bullpen, said he was being stretched out as a starter while at the team’s alternate training site in Jupiter but is available for whatever role the team needs him in as the Marlins continue their race to make the playoffs.

“It’s exciting,” Neidert said. “We’re in a playoff push. … It’s exciting to have the team want you to be there to be one of the pitchers on the staff. I want to do my part in whatever way that is.”


Mattingly said infielder Jon Berti, who is on the 10-day injured list with a lacerated right finger, has been hitting and fielding at the in Jupiter. Berti has played in scrimmages, and the team anticipates is he will be ready to return on Sunday.


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