St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Helsley pauses on the mound after giving up a two-run home run to Miami Marlins’ Avisail Garcia during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
By WARREN MAYES Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Avisaíl García hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning and Sandy Alcantara pitched a complete game, lifting the Miami Marlins to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
With two outs, García hit the first pitch he saw from Ryan Helsley (3-1 ) 411 feet over the wall in center field for his fifth homer. Jesús Sánchez, who walked to begin the inning, also scored.
“You hope this is a turning point for us,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “We want to win consistently. We never seem to really gain traction. Hopefully, this is something where we turn the page and get moving forward.”
It was García ‘s first go-ahead, ninth-inning home run. He is the 12th MLB player to hit a go-ahead homer with two outs in the ninth this season.
“I feel relieved,” García said. “A happy moment. I’m happy for us to get the win. I faced him once last year but I don’t really remember clearly. He’s nasty. He’s one of the best closers right now. I thank God that I put good wood on the fastball.”
It was the second blown save this season for Helsley, who recorded the save Tuesday with three strikeouts in the ninth.
“Obviously, one pitch was the difference in the game,” Helsley said. “I’ll just go out there and try and be better next time.”
Dylan Carlson drove in two runs while Juan Yepez hit two doubles and Edmundo Sosa also had two hits, including a triple and two runs scored for the Cardinals.
Alcantara (8-3) picked up his first victory against his original team. Alcantara improved to 1-3 in five starts against St. Louis. He gave up seven hits and three runs in his second complete game of the season.
“It’s always happy for me pitching here and facing my old team,” Alcantara said. “I just want to do my job and compete. I feel so happy because we win tonight.”
With runners on first and second in the ninth, Mattingly came out to the mound. He didn’t make a move. Alcantara got out of the jam by getting Sosa to hit into a game-ending double play.
“When me came to me, I said, ‘I got it. I got it.’ I think he has too much confidence in me to finish the game,” Alcantara said. “I don’t have to worry when I have men on base. I know I can throw for a strike and get a double play.”
“He said he had it and he did,” Mattingly said. “I wasn’t going to promise him two hitters but I gave him that one. He’s pretty special.”
Rookie Andre Pallante threw a career high seven innings for the Cardinals. He allowed two runs and five hits.
A two-run fifth inning put St. Louis ahead 3-2. A sacrifice fly by Brendan Donovan drove in Sosa, who hit a one-out triple. Carlson singled home Andrew Knizner.
St. Louis went ahead 1-0 on an unearned run in the third inning. Sosa singled and stole second. He took third on a grounder to first baseman Garrett Cooper, who made a throwing error. Carlson’s sacrifice fly to right scored Sosa.
An RBI single by Jesús Aguilar in the fourth pulled the Marlins into a 1-1 tie.
Miami took a 2-1 lead when Brian Anderson scored on a double play in the fifth. Anderson walked to begin the inning and two singles loaded the bases. But Pallante escaped with just one run scored on a double play and then a ground out.
The Cardinals are 10-2 in their last 12 games against Miami dating back to the start of 2021. It was the first Cardinals loss to the Marlins in St. Louis since June 20, 2019 — a span of 1,105 days. Miguel Rojas, Cooper and Anderson are the only Marlins who played in that game still with the club.
Marlins: Recalled 3B Luke Williams from Triple-A Jacksonville. Williams was traded to Miami for Giants INF Hayden Cantrelle on May 26.
Marlins: LF Jorge Soler was scratched from the lineup just before the game began due to back discomfort. … 2B Jazz Chisholm Jr. was put on the 10-day injured list Wednesday with a right lower back strain. Chisholm Jr. left Tuesday’s game in the bottom of the second with right lower back tightness. … 2B Joey Wendle (right hamstring strain) is slated to return to the Marlins sometime this weekend in Washington after a rehab assignment with Jacksonville.
Cardinals: 2B Nolan Gorman (bruised left hand) was not in the lineup for second straight game. Gorman hurt his hand Monday after fouling off a ball. … LHP Steven Matz and RHP Jordan Hicks both made pitching rehab appearances at Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday. Hicks was scheduled to throw again Wednesday night against Jacksonville and could rejoin St. Louis on its upcoming road trip. Matz is scheduled for a start the game Saturday.
Marlins: RHP Trevor Rogers (3-6, 5.86) will make his seventh start Friday against the Nationals in Washington. Rogers has faced Washington twice this season, going 2-0 and allowing three runs in 11 innings pitched. Nationals RHP Josiah Gray (6-4, 3.82) has pitched to a 0.82 ERA (1 ER/11.0 IP) in his last two home starts after posting an 8.25 ERA (22 ER/24.0 IP) in his first five home starts.
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (5-5, 2.57) will start Friday’s game in Philadelphia. Mikolas has not faced the Phillies since May 6, 2019 when he threw seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball en route to a 6-0 shutout win. He received a loss in his last start at Citizens Bank Park permitting four runs over five innings in a 6-5 extra-inning walk-off loss on June 18, 2018. The Phillies have yet to name a starter.