When the Miami Marlins went deep into their bench during an eighth-inning rally Thursday, infielder Casey McGehee was told to be on standby as the emergency catcher.
He made sure the game didn’t come to that.
McGehee hit a two-out, two-run single to cap a four-run eighth for the Marlins, who flexed their newfound offensive muscle yet again to beat the Colorado Rockies 8-5.
The Marlins scored 27 runs while winning three of four games in the season-opening series. It took them 14 games to score 27 runs last year, when they finished last in the majors in runs and batting and lost 100 games.
Newcomer McGehee has led the resurgence, batting .462 with eight RBIs after spending last year in Japan. Giancarlo Stanton, who singled home the go-ahead run with two outs in the eighth, is batting .375 with seven RBIs.
”It’s definitely different than what we’re used to,” Stanton said. ”It has been fun. We’re having a good time.”
They looked like the same old Marlins for much of the afternoon by going 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position before Christian Yelich made the score 5-all in the eighth with a two-out RBI bloop single off Matt Belisle (0-1). Yelich stole second – with the call confirmed by a replay review – and Jeff Baker walked.
Yelich scored easily when Stanton singled after falling behind 0-2, and McGehee followed with a two-run single.
”Was it perfect? No,” manager Mike Redmond said. ”But we got some big hits when we needed them.”
The Marlins used two pinch hitters in the inning, which left them without a catcher on the bench. Redmond told McGehee to be ready, mindful he has some experience as a catcher, most recently in 2008 in Triple-A.
”I actually kind of want to get back there again, but maybe not in a close game,” McGehee said. ”Maybe when we’re up 15.”
While he might have reservations about donning a mask, he has brought a hard-nose attitude to the once-meek Marlins. He broke up a double play to help score a run and came home from second on a two-out grounder that Marcell Ozuna beat out for a hit.
”That’s the kind of style we’re wanting to play – aggressive, put pressure on them, kind of the old football mentality of play until the whistle,” McGehee said.
McGehee’s teammates love it.
”For him to do what he’s doing, it wreaks havoc with the pitcher,” Stanton said.
A.J. Ramos (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth. Steve Cishek followed with a scoreless ninth for his 31st consecutive converted save opportunity, and his second this year.
Franklin Morales allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings for Colorado. Miami starter Jacob Turner gave up five runs in six innings.
Miami will remain home this week against San Diego, while the Rockies head to Denver for their home opener Friday against Arizona, hoping to reverse their slow start.
”It’s definitely not how you write it up,” Michael Cuddyer said. ”Now we’ve got to look at the Diamondbacks and win that series and get right back where we need to be.”
Cuddyer homered and drove in three runs. Last year’s NL batting champion is hitting .412.