Fenway Park has never been kind to the Marlins.
They lost a game here in 2003 — the year they would end up winning their second World Series — in which they somehow gave up 10 runs before managing to record a single out, and Johnny Damon singled, doubled and tripled in just the first inning.
It wasn’t nearly so one-sided on Tuesday. But it was almost as agonizing. And it definitely wasn’t pretty.
Twice the Marlins rallied from deficits — once in the eighth and again in the ninth — to either take the lead or tie the score. Both times they allowed their comebacks go to waste in an 8-7 loss in which the Red Sox scored the winning run on JT Riddle’s throwing error. The loss gave the Marlins a 6-15 record all-time at Fenway.
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“Obviously, the ending was not very good,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly.
It was the second time this season the Marlins suffered a game-ending loss on an error. They lost to the Padres in San Diego back in May on a walk-off error by Miguel Rojas.
After erasing a 4-1 deficit by scoring five runs in the eighth, the last-place Marlins watched their improbable comeback against the team with the best record in the majors go up in flames when the Red Sox answered with three runs in their half of the inning, then score the game-winner in the ninth when Riddle was unable to complete an inning-ending double play and skipped a throw past Rojas at first.
“Step on the bag, throw the ball to first. Should have made the play,” Riddle said. “I threw the ball 80 feet and that was the game. Just a bad throw.”
Riddle’s throwing error culminated a wild final two innings in which the two teams combined to score 10 runs.
After the Marlins scored five runs in the eighth to take a 6-4 lead, reliever Tayron Guerrero came undone, allowing four hits and uncorking a wild pitch that scored a run as the Red Sox re-gained the lead, 7-6.
“It was a little struggle tonight,” Guerrero said. “Bad night.”
Still, the Marlins had one more rally left in them, tying it in the ninth on Magneuris Sierra’s RBI single.
Jose Urena, who returned from a six-game suspension and was pitching for the first time since a complete-game win over the Nationals nine days earlier, gave up four runs over six innings.
The Marlins were trailing 4-1 in the eighth, with their only run coming on Isaac Galloway’s solo homer in the third, when they struck for five runs, with J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro connecting on back-to-back homers and Rafael Ortega putting the Marlins on top with a two-run bloop single with two outs.
But when Guerrero took over in the eighth, it all fell apart. After the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out, Guerrero nearly got out of the jam when he struck out Blake Swihart. But with Adam Conley warming in the bullpen, Mattingly elected to leave Guerrero in to face the left-handed hitting Bradley, who tied the score with a two-out single.
Mattingly said he decided not to bring in his southpaw to face Bradley because he figured the Red Sox would counter by sending up the right-handed hitting Steve Pearce to pinch-hit. And Boston manager Alex Cora said that’s exactly what he would have done had Mattingly gone to Conley in that spot.
Even after all that, the Marlins managed to tie it in the ninth on Sierra’s RBI single off Craig Kimbrel.
But with two aboard and one out in the ninth, Riddle fielded Eduardo Nunez’s ground ball, stepped on second for one out, and promptly threw the ball away, allowing the winning run to score.