For those who appreciate the IFC series Brockmire, it's a grind to be stuck in the minor leagues for years on end.
There are some who might feel that way about playing for the Miami Marlins, too.
Winning a third of their games in 2019, the Fish fell to 7-18 with their most recent defeat, a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals Saturday night at Busch Stadium.
This actually was a well-played game on both sides, but as is the case so often, the Marlins came out on the short end even when performing to the best of their ability.
A rejuvenated Adam Wainwright lasted six and a third innings, and Matt Carpenter's two-run homer provided the only offense the home team needed. The trio of John Gant, Tyler Webb and Andrew Miller polished off the Marlins in the late innings, with Miller earning his first save of 2020 in a scoreless ninth.
"It felt good to get that," said Miller. I knew that Ryan (Helsley) and others would get save opportunities, but I'm happy that Mike (Shildt, the Cards manager) brought me into a close game to finish."
A tight pitching duel between Wainwright and Marlins starter, righty Jose Urena, stayed scoreless through four innings. In the fifth, the Marlins broke through with their sole tally.
After a Corey Dickerson bunt single with one out, Jonathan Villar drove a sharp single to right field. Dexter Fowler bobbled the ball with his pickup, which allowed Dickerson to achieve third base.
A Jesus Aguilar sacrifice fly gave Miami the lead.
But that was short lived, as Carpenter came to bat after Wainwright singled with one out, and drove a 2-1 fastball down the right-field line and just over the wall.
"He had been throwing about two-thirds fastballs, and I hadn't seen one this at bat," said Carpenter. I was guessing, pure and simple. I guess I guessed right."
Wainwright left with one out and a man on in the seventh, having thrown 93 pitches. He provided seven strikeouts, with three coming on his signature curveball. His fastball peaked at 92 mph, but he threw it with precision and varying speeds, and the Marlins never quite got their feet underneath them.
In addition to sharp pitching, the defense was excellent on both ends. Harrison Bader ranged back and to his right in the ninth to nab a deep tag by Aguilar. It was the second impressive running catch of the day for Bader, who had to run the other way and make a sliding grab off Dickerson's bat in the opening inning.
Meanwhile, Isan Diaz started a nifty double play for the Marlins in the second, as he ranged behind second and dove to stop a hard-hit hopper from Kolten Wong. Emulating the Cards second baseman, Diaz, backtossed to shortstop Miguel Rojas, who tagged the base a half-step before Dylan Carlson arrived and nabbed Wong by the same measure at first.
"Sharp play," said Wong. "I was impressed and I'd be happy to make that play anytime."
Next Up and Notes: The Cards (16-10) seek the sweep Sunday as Jack Flaherty returns to the mound. Caleb Smith will go for the Fish. Matt Wieters is expected to spell Yadier Molina at catcher. This will already be Wieters sixth start behind the plate, and he's on pace to catch about 40 games this year, though some may go to Andrew Knizner later on if he's called up. Wong and Carlson also contributed stolen bases on Saturday, but nothing came of either one.