PHOENIX — The 2022 Marlins nearly made dubious history with 40 one-run losses, the most since the 1975 Astros and just three shy of the 1968 White Sox for the single-season record in the Live Ball Era (since 1920).
In doing so, Miami improved to 12-0 in one-run games in 2023, surpassing the 1972 Mets for the most consecutive wins in games decided by one run in AL/NL history.
“I see confidence in guys being able to execute more than I did last year in critical situations,” general manager Kim Ng said. “I think that’s contagious. I think it’s [the new guys we brought in], I think it’s growth. I also think that the bullpen has done a really good job. I think all those things combined, [manager Skip Schumaker] making some good moves with the bullpen, I think all of that combined leads to that type of record.”
Left-handed-hitting Jesús Sánchez led off the ninth with a double to left against southpaw Andrew Chafin, but he exited with a tight left hamstring. Jon Berti then advanced pinch-runner Bryan De La Cruz to third with a groundout to shortstop before Wendle sent righty Miguel Castro’s 96.3 mph sinker to left.
Wendle, who missed just over a month with a right intercostal strain, entered the ninth inning with one hit in 19 at-bats this season. The other knock came last Sunday at Wrigley Field, where he produced a pinch-hit RBI triple in the 10th inning of an eventual 5-4 victory in 14 innings over the Cubs.
“The goal is to win baseball games,” Wendle said. “My goal is to help us do that. If you’re not getting many hits, you try to make them count. Big win, big series for the team there. What an effort from our bullpen. Unbelievable. I just thought a pretty gutsy performance out of us. That’s a good team to beat [four] out of six times, so it feels good to come back with a win there.”
After Miami jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Sánchez’s three-run homer in the fourth inning in Wednesday’s series finale, Arizona rallied with four of its own in the bottom half of the frame because right-hander Edward Cabrera lost the strike zone. Four walks, a run-scoring balk and an RBI single later, Schumaker turned to the bullpen.
Six relievers held the D-backs to three hits across 5 2/3 scoreless innings to help set up the Marlins’ rally.
“Our bullpen is cut out for it,” said lefty Tanner Scott, who recorded a K for all five of his outs. “Everyone’s got great stuff, and [we] try to put up a zero as much as we can.”
“To me, it’s been the bullpen, defensively we’ve played really good late into games to shore things up, but the ‘pen’s been fun to watch,” Schumaker said.