Nick Martinez enjoyed his homecoming. And, after an anxious ninth inning, his friends and family got to celebrate a win.
Martinez allowed two runs and struck out a career-high seven in six innings of work, Alex Rios drove in two runs and the Texas Rangers survived Miami’s last-inning rally to beat the Marlins 5-4 on Wednesday afternoon.
Marcell Ozuna and Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered in the ninth for Miami, but the Rangers held on for a split of the quick two-game series.
”It was great,” said Martinez, who had about 100 family and friends in the stands. ”It was very special. I got to pitch where it all started against a team I grew up watching. I thought that was pretty cool and even better than we came out on top.”
Martinez (3-9) allowed six hits and threw 62 of 96 pitches for strikes. He was born in nearby Hialeah and pitched at Belen Jesuit Prep, about 12 miles from Marlins Park.
Leonys Martin had three hits for Texas, which grabbed a 5-0 lead after two innings. And after giving up the two solo homers, Neftali Feliz got his fifth save in six tries, striking out Donovan Solano to end the game with the tying run on base.
Feliz closed it out moments after manager Ron Washington visited the mound and nearly pulled him.
”He said, `Give me one more hitter’ and he said it like he meant it,” Washington said. ”So I gave him one more hitter.”
Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi (6-8) gave up nine hits and five runs, four earned, in five innings.
Martinez had a 3-0 lead before taking the mound in his home city for the first time. Texas — which had been held to three runs or less in 14 of its past 18 games entering Wednesday — strung together four straight two-out hits in the opening inning. J.P. Arencibia’s double brought Rios home with the first run, and Adrian Beltre came around when Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria dropped the relay.
Martin’s single made it 3-0, and Rios’ second-inning double — on a popup that dropped in right — pushed the lead to 5-0.
”I was leaving the fastball up in the zone, couldn’t get that slider to have that good bite to it,” Eovaldi said. ”It’s tough for us to come back from 5-0 after two innings, but we were right there, knocking on the door at the end.”
Martinez gave up an RBI double to Ozuna in the fourth, then let Ozuna score Miami’s second run on a wild pitch. Otherwise, he largely escaped trouble.
Ozuna and Christian Yelich each had three hits for Miami.
”Too many runs early,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. ”It’s a day game, 12:40 start, we’ve got to come out of the chute and put up some zeroes, give our offense a chance to get going. To give up five runs in two innings, that can’t happen.”