A home-run barrage nearly costs the Miami Marlins a win. Small ball in extra innings salvaged the night.
And with that, on the 23rd day, the Marlins' extended road trip to begin the 2020 season ended on a high note.
The Marlins snapped a three-game losing streak with an 14-11, 10-inning win Wednesday over the Toronto Blue Jays at Buffalo's Sahlen Field.
Magneuris Sierra's go-ahead two-run single and an RBI single from Jesus Aguilar in the extra frame gave Miami the lead for good. Josh A. Smith threw a scoreless 10th with a pair of strikeouts to close the game and earn the save.
Even after watching an eight-run lead disappear after the Blue Jays swatted ball after ball past the outfield wall, the Marlins rallied to end their 12-game road stretch (with a week of quarantining and postponed games mixed in) in a good spot as far as their record is concerned to open this 60-game season despite some self-inflicted setbacks. At 8-4, Miami holds onto its spot atop the NL East when it hosts the Atlanta Braves starting Friday its their first series at Marlins Park this season. The Braves (11-9) are second in the division based on win percentage.
"I think guys are excited to get back home," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "There hasn't been any change in that. We've been on the road for 23 days. ... Guys are pretty good about compartmentalizing what we have to do."
They've had a lot to compartmentalize.
They played 12 consecutive games away from home to begin the season, a byproduct of the team's coronavirus outbreak that manifested following their season-opening road series against the Philadelphia Phillies in late July. It impacted 18 players and forced the Marlins to bring up a slew of prospects and pick up veterans off waivers, through trades and via free agency just to field a full roster.
Instead of returning home after that series as originally planned, the Marlins had seven games postponed while they quarantined in a Philadelphia hotel for a week and then played another nine games on the road when they were cleared to play. The Marlins were the designated home team in two of those games against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
They have gone 6-3 since returning to the field.