Luis Arraez comes up clutch off the bench as Marlins beat Diamondbacks to take series

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Luis Arraez was getting antsy. The Miami Marlins’ star second baseman had been out of the starting lineup for back-to-back days while dealing with a left index finger injury and badly wanted to find a way back on the field to help his team.

“I hate to stay there,” Arraez said of being on the bench. “I support my teammates, but I don’t want to stay there anymore.”

So when the opportunity arose for Arraez to potentially have a game-changing impact on the game Saturday, he didn’t waste any time.

He stepped into the batter’s box to pinch-hit in the seventh inning of a tied game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The go-ahead run was on third base.

Arraez saw one pitch from Diamondbacks reliever Andrew Chafin, a sinker that was up and in. Arraez made contact.

And, as he does more often than not, Arraez got a base hit.

His single to shallow center field scored Jean Segura and gave the Marlins a lead they would not relinquish in a 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks at loanDepot park to clinch the three-game series.

“I like Arraez’s chances anywhere,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “He makes you look good as a manager.”

The Marlins have now won four consecutive games and five of their last six to improve to 8-7, their first winning record since they were 12-11 on May 3, 2022.

Arraez’s single improved his batting average on the season to .511 — 24 hits in 47 at-bats.

“I don’t know who has more confidence: Him in himself or his teammates that he’s going to come through,” said infielder Garrett Hampson, who started each of the past two games at second base in Arraez’s place and hit a game-tying home run in the fifth. “He’s special. He just stays the same. He just never gets out of his zone and puts the bat on the ball and good things happen.”

Hampson isn’t the only one around the Marlins clubhouse with that sentiment.

There’s starting pitcher Braxton Garrett, who held the Diamondbacks (8-7) to one run on four hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts: “Words can’t describe it. The guy’s hitting a billion and we’re a month in. He’s impressive.”

There’s reliever Tanner Scott, who pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season after another stellar performance from the bullpen overall: “Anytime that guy comes in, you’re like ‘Geez, he can hit.’ He’s something special.”

And there’s catcher Jacob Stallings: “He’s just a spark plug for our team, and it’s just infectious.”

Before Arraez’s single, Avisail Garcia led off the seventh inning with a double, his second hit of the game, moved to third on a Jesus Sanchez groundout and scored on a Segura RBI single. Nick Fortes followed with a single of his own to move Segura to third.

“It was just a good team inning,” Schumaker said.

And it led to another team win.

Marlins reflect on Jackie Robinson Day

All 30 MLB teams on Saturday celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, a day to commemorate the anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. All players, managers and field coaches wore Robinson’s No. 42 and all caps had a “42” side patch.

“It means everything,” said Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr., who hails from the Bahamas. “To watch and see from the movie and the books that I’ve read to see what he endured for guys like me one day to actually be able to play, I know I couldn’t do it. It still puts chills down my spine. It just means a lot to wear his number. I always wanted to be a big leaguer, so to get to wear Jackie Robinson’s number is amazing.”

In Miami, the Marlins also held multiple events leading up to the game on Saturday. It started Wedesday with the team hosting the second annual Jackie Robinson Classic, with two South Florida high school baseball teams playing a game at loanDepot park. South Broward beat Sunrise Piper 10-5 in the game. Last year, Miami Northwestern and North Miami Beach played in the inaugural game. The Marlins’ plan is to have a Dade-Broward matchup for Year 3 of the classic.

In addition to celebrating Jackie Robinson Day on Saturday, the team also hosted a South Florida Black Legacy Celebration at the ballpark to commemorate the impact that Robinson and local community leaders have had on society as advocates for civil rights and equality.

Up next

The Marlins close their series with the Diamondbacks at 1:40 p.m. Sunday. Sandy Alcantara will start on the mound for the Marlins opposite the Diamondbacks’ Zac Gallen.