MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A constant trait among good baseball teams is that they find ways to win, sometimes against all odds.
The Miami Marlins keep winning ballgames, even with patchwork pitching.
Miguel Rojas hit a one-out sacrifice fly in the 11th inning, and five pitchers combined to help Miami win for the 12th time in 15 games by beating the San Diego Padres 2-1 Saturday night.
Odrisamer Despaigne, who hasn’t won in the majors since 2015, allowed one run in six innings while making a spot start. He and four relievers combined on a six-hitter.
“They hung in there and kept us in it,” manager Don Mattingly said.
Despite an injury-ravaged pitching staff, the Marlins have climbed into the NL wild-card race and trail Colorado by 4½ games for the final playoff berth.
“It has been pretty fun,” Rojas said. “This is a club put together to do this — to get into the race for the playoffs, and we’re doing it now.”
The Marlins have won plenty of high-scoring games lately, with slugger Giancarlo Stanton leading the way, but the Padres kept him stuck on 49 homers. The major league home run leader singled twice and struck out twice in four at-bats.
Derek Dietrich led off the 11th with a double against Jose Torres (7-4). Dietrich advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and with the Padres deploying five infielders, Rojas hit a drive that forced right fielder Jabari Blash to retreat to make the catch, allowing Dietrich to score easily.
“With five guys in the infield I said, ‘I’m not going to hit a groundball right here. I’m just going to try to elevate something,'” Rojas said.
“I could have stuck 10 outfielders out there and they would have won it on the ball that was hit,” Padres manager Andy Green said.
Miami slugger Marcell Ozuna hit his 31st homer in the fourth off the Marlins Park home run sculpture. Ichiro Suzuki singled for his 22nd pinch hit of the season , breaking the Marlins record set by Ross Gload in 2009.
Cory Spangenberg stole home on the front end of a double steal in the second inning for the Padres’ run. Dinelson Lamet allowed one run in six innings, but San Diego was mathematically eliminated from the race for the NL West title with 33 games left.
With the score tied, the Marlins’ Brian Ellington allowed a leadoff double in the seventh and then retired the next three batters. Junichi Tazawa (3-3) pitched around a leadoff single in the 10th.
CAT AND MOUSE
Green ordered Stanton intentionally walked with the game tied, runners at the corners and one out in the seventh, and the unorthodox move worked. Brad Hand struck out Christian Yelich and got Ozuna to fly out to end the threat.
“We thought we had a better chance against Yelich and Ozuna than Stanton with the infield drawn in,” Green said. “That’s a scary proposition.”
Stanton has walked 65 times and said he’s not attempting to guess whether teams will pitch to him.
“They’re going to try everything now,” he said. “That’s the point, the little cat-and-mouse, the chess game. Sometimes when you’d think I’m not going to get pitched to, they’re going to pitch to me, and vice versa. It depends how the game is going.”
The Padres pulled off a double steal to score their run. With two outs, runners at the corners and the pitcher at the plate, catcher Hector Sanchez took off for second, and Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto threw the ball into center field, allowing Spangenberg to score standing up.
Mattingly took the blame, saying he should have signaled for Realmuto not to throw in that situation.
“It was the wrong play on my end,” Mattingly said. “They had the pitcher up. You know they’ll do that. That cost us a run.”
The Padres claimed RHP Tim Melville on waivers from the Minnesota Twins, and transferred RHP Miguel Diaz to the 60-day disabled list. Melville will join Triple-A El Paso’s rotation, while Diaz (forearm) is expected to be activated soon.
The Marlins will go for a series sweep when RHP Dan Straily (8-8, 3.83 ERA) starts Sunday against LHP Clayton Richard (6-12, 4.89), who is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA in five career starts against Miami.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)