DENVER (AP) – The Miami Marlins are reduced to the role of spoiler in the Colorado Rockies’ playoff chase.
Good thing for Milwaukee and St. Louis, they’ve embraced it.
Miguel Rojas had a career-high four RBIs and the Marlins held off Colorado 5-4 on Monday night, cutting the Rockies’ lead for the second NL wild card to 1 1/2 games over the Brewers.
“We’re trying to play the best baseball that we can because it’s really important not just for us but for the whole league,” Rojas said. “I feel this is kind of going to get us ready for what we want to accomplish in the next couple years.”
With five games remaining, the Rockies have lost six of eight and are clinging to a postseason spot as they seek their first playoff berth since 2009. Monday marked a missed opportunity to extend their advantage over the idle Brewers as well as St. Louis, which remained 2 1/2 games back after a 10-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs earlier in the night.
“We’re not out of it yet,” Colorado catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. “Not even close. We have five games left. We have five games we can win and we’re still in this thing.”
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton went hitless in five at-bats and remained at 57 homers.
J.T. Realmuto had two hits and drove in a run for Miami. Odrisamer Despaigne (1-3) allowed two runs in six innings, improving to 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA in seven career appearances against the Rockies.
“This is actually one of my favorite parks to pitch in,” said Despaigne, who has won both his career starts at Coors Field. “Some of my best results have come in this park. I know the altitude affects the ball, but I pitch well here.”
Colorado rallied from a 5-1 deficit but failed to get a big hit late.
After Gerardo Parra’s RBI groundout in the sixth and Lucroy’s solo homer in the seventh, the Rockies loaded the bases with one out. Nolan Arenado hit a deep sacrifice fly to pull Colorado to 5-4 before Mark Reynolds fouled out to end the inning.
Kyle Barraclough walked Lucroy to start the ninth but recovered for his first major league save when Charlie Blackmon lined into a game-ending double play.
Colorado manager Bud Black said the Rockies will have to come through in those situations if they hope to reach the postseason.
“It’s going to take that key hit in a critical moment,” he said.
Arenado’s RBI was his 127th of the year, which surpassed Stanton (126) for the major league lead. Blackmon also drove in a run for the Rockies.
Earlier, the Marlins got five straight hits in a four-run fourth against starter Tyler Chatwood (8-14). Rojas capped the burst when he roped a three-run double that deflected off an outstretched Ian Desmond in left field to put Miami up 4-0.
Rain delayed the start by 26 minutes.
STANTON’S INCREDIBLE CATCH
Stanton kept the Rockies off the board with a run-saving catch in the third. The slugger raced toward the right-center wall, made a leaping catch and held on despite sandwiching teammate Christian Yelich into the wall. The two tumbled to the ground but immediately got to their feet, laughing as they jogged to the dugout.
Earlier in the inning, Lucroy was credited with a triple after Stanton dove and missed on his sharp liner, which rolled all the way to the corner.
Jose Fernandez, the late Miami ace who galvanized a city with a rocket arm and an illuminating personality, has been gone for a year now.
Monday marked the one-year anniversary since Fernandez and two other passengers died in a boating accident off Miami Beach.
His former teammates were just a few of those who took to social media to pay tribute in his memory.
Stanton, posting a picture of himself with Fernandez on Instagram, wrote: “Still Glancing over my shoulder hoping to see you. You’ve given me a new perspective & motivation Missing you always! (hash)JDF16”.
When asked about the anniversary before Monday’s game, Miami manager Don Mattingly said he’d always remember Fernandez’s bright smile and high energy.
The Marlins have worn a No. 16 patch on their jerseys throughout the season.
It was later revealed that Fernandez was driving when the boat struck a jetty at 65.7 mph. An autopsy found cocaine and alcohol in his system. He was 24.
Carlos Gonzalez (shoulder) pinch-hit in the ninth for the Rockies. The slugger has showed signs of breaking out of a season-long slump this month with five home runs and 13 RBI.
Marlins: RHP Jose Urena (14-6, 3.55) is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four September starts. He stifled the Mets in his last outing, allowing two runs over eight innings.
Rockies: In three starts since coming back from knee surgery, LHP Tyler Anderson (5-6, 5.24) is 2-1 with a 1.72 ERA.
By BRENT W. NEW, Associated Press
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