Lucas' walk-off hit gives Marlins 11-inning win over Phillies
The Sports Xchange
By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
Marlins 11-inning win over Phillies
MIAMI -- Ed Lucas had never had a big-league walk-off hit until Tuesday night.
"I had a walk-off fielder's choice last year -- this was a little better," Lucas joked after his Miami Marlins beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4, in 11 innings.
"But I feel like the walk-off fielder's choice kind of suits me better and my role on the team -- kind of like, 'ho hum, OK, let's go home.'"
The Marlins went home happy at least after their seventh walk-off win of the year at Marlins Park.
Miami's winning rally started when pinch-hitter Jeff Baker singled off Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus (2-1) and was bunted to second by left fielder Christian Yelich. That set the stage for Lucas, who came in as a late-game defensive replacement at shortstop.
On a 2-2 fastball, Lucas went the other way and lofted a soft liner just over the head of first baseman Ryan Howard.
Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the National League in homers (21) and RBIs (61), was on deck, so it was obvious that the Phillies were coming after Lucas.
"That was the situation, and then we were going to make a decision on (whether to walk) Stanton," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Lucas was well aware that Stanton was on deck.
"I knew I had the big guy behind me, and (De Fratus) didn't want to walk me," Lucas said. "He made a couple of good pitches, but I was able to squirt one to right field.
"Once I knew (the hit) was down, and (right fielder Marlon) Byrd wasn't going to get to it, that was a big sense of relief. It's nice to finally get a win."
Indeed, the Marlins (40-43) snapped a four-game losing streak in a battle between National League East rivals.
Miami also won its ninth straight game in which Henderson Alvarez has started. That tied the franchise record for a pitcher, set by Chris Hammond in 1993.
The Phillies (36-47) lost their fifth straight game and remained in last place in the division. They have also lost nine of their past 11 games.
The Phillies tied the score 4-4 in the eighth, hitting consecutive homers for just the second time this year. This time it was solo blasts by Byrd, his 16th, and third baseman Cody Asche, his fifth.
Both homers came off Marlins reliever Kevin Gregg, who had inherited a 4-2 lead from Alvarez (seven innings, two runs allowed). Byrd's shot made a loud clang off the Marlins' sculpture in left-center, and Asche's homer hit the fair pole in right.