The Miami Marlins called up a rookie pitcher for the final game of a three-game series hosting the St. Louis Cardinals.
When the game ended, I remembered his name and learned about his family who traveled miles to see him pitch in the big leagues for the first time.
The Marlins entered the game only to have scored just ten runs in their past six games, all losses.
Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto made his major league debut on Wednesday ending the misery and preventing a three-game sweep by the beating the Cardinals 9-0.
Yamamoto with a confident swagger delivered on both sides of the plate, earning an RBI and pitching seven innings to win his major league debut, and the Marlins broke a six-game losing streak.
“Everybody is human, I went out there never really looked at who is hitting or who was standing in the box,” Yamamoto said. “I trusted my catcher with what he put down and just threw it.”
The Marlins scratched veteran right-hander Jose Urena from his scheduled Wednesday start due to a back injury, likely placing him on the injured list.
Yamamoto got the call while with Double-A Jacksonville to fill in for Urena. After making the call to his parents and sister who had to travels for hours and connected on several flights before they scrambled to make it to the game from Hawaii on Tuesday.
“I called them and was like, `Hey, get on a flight,” he said. “They were like, `It’s too expensive.’ I said, `Mom, I don’t care. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Get out here.”
It was priceless in the end. The 23-year-old Hawaiian right-hander limited St. Louis to three hits and two walks.
Yamamoto was called up going 3-5 with a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts for Double-A Jacksonville this year. Last year, he had a 1.83 ERA in three stops in the lower minors and posted a 2.08 ERA in the Arizona Fall League.
“He’s a fun guy to watch,” manager Don Mattingly said. “I’m sure if he goes to a tryout, the scouts are looking at this guy, and you’re probably not signing him. But he can add and subtract. He’ll throw his fastball at 86, and at 92. He just mixes and mixes. He’s unpredictable.”
The Marlins acquired Yamamoto in January 2018 as part of what is so far an uneven trade in which the Milwaukee Brewers acquired outfielder Christian Yelich, who went on to win the 2018 National League Most Valuable Player award. The Marlins also got center fielder Lewis Brinson in that trade, but he was returned to the minors earlier this season after hitting just .197 in 27 games.
He was part of a Honolulu Saint Louis High athletic program that has sent quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Tua Tagovailoa to big-time football.
The run support made it easier for Yamamoto as the game proceeded in his debut.
Garrett Cooper had the magic stick as he hit a grand slam and finished a double shy of the cycle.
“I’m not going to lie, I was looking for that double,” he said with a chuckle. “I swung a little too hard the last couple of times.”
Cooper also tripled and scored in the first inning, and singled in the fifth. He struck out in the seventh and eighth.
The Cardinals countered Yamamoto with Miles Mikolas. The right-hander lasted just four innings in his most recent start because on Friday, Mikolas was hit on his right forearm by a hard comebacker from Chicago Cubs second baseman David Bote.
Mikolas gave up five runs in five innings and lost his fifth decision in a row. He went 18-4 last season.
The beat goes on.
Cardinals RHP Jack Flaherty (4-3, 4.08) is scheduled to start Thursday to begin a four-game series at the New York Mets.
The fish following a day off, RHP Trevor Richards (3-6, 3.31) is scheduled to start Friday to begin a three-game series at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Richards is 3-1 with a 1.09 ERA in his past four starts.