MIAMI (AP) — Nick Fortes hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the fourth inning, and Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins closed their 11th losing season in 12 years with a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Bryce Harper doubled and walked before being replaced in the bottom of the third. A contender for NL MVP, he hit .309 with 35 homers, 84 RBIs and a major league-best 1.044 OPS.
“I want to be better, I want to get better,” Harper said. “I love this team. I love this organization, and I want to be so good for them and the city of Philadelphia.”
Fortes sent a drive off off Hector Neris (4-7) into the Marlins’ bullpen in left for a 5-3 lead, his fourth home run since he was called ip from Triple-A on Sept. 17.
“Just looking for a fastball middle-in, and it’s exactly what he threw,” Fortes said. “I was able to put a good swing on it. I’m very grateful and very happy that I got to end the year like that.”
After ending a 17-year playoff drought in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Marlins finished fourth in the NL East at 67-95 in their fourth season since Jeter was part of a group that bought the team.
“Like I told the players today, this season has been really kind of gut wrenching,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “I truly in my heart believed that we were going to be competing for this division, be in the spot fighting down in the end. That didn’t happen for whatever reason. But no matter what the reason sometimes you take a step back to move forward.”
Philadelphia was 82-80 in its first winning season since last reaching the playoffs in 2011. The fallout of another postseason absence resulted in the firings of hitting coach Joe Dillon and infield coach Juan Castro, manager Joe Girardi said Sunday.
“It’s been a tough day, sometimes the season doesn’t go the way you want and people are let go,” Girardi added. “The difficult part is you know how hard they work at it and they’re friends. At this level it’s a production-based business. It’s difficult.”
Zach Thompson (3-7) pitched a scoreless fourth. Three relievers kept the Phillies scoreless before Anthony Bender allowed Brad Miller’s RBI single in the eighth. Dylan Floro closed with a perfect ninth for his 15th save in 21 chances.
Freddy Galvis hit a solo homer and Andrew McCutchen added a two-run drive for the Phillies.
With Miami out of contention and Sunday’s game not having playoff implications, manager Don Mattingly allowed shortstop Miguel Rojas to run the club. Rojas also had a one-day managerial stint in the final game of 2019.
“The guys made it easy on me, everybody did their jobs,” Rojas said. “It’s always nice to see the game from a different perspective. Overall, I’m happy and proud the way they played today.”
Marlins starter Pablo López returned from a right rotator cuff strain to make his first appearance since July 11. Limited to 1 2/3 innings and 42 pitches, Lopez gave up one run, four hits, struck out four and walked one.
Eddy Alvarez hit a run-scoring triple and scored on Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s single against Philadelphia starter Bailey Falter in the first.
Falter worked two innings for the Phillies. The left-hander allowed three runs, four hits and walked one.
HOME ATTENDANCE BY THE NUMBERS
The Marlins drew 642,677 to their 81 home games. The first three months of the season were played to limited capacity because of COVID-19 restrictions. Full capacity was allowed for the opener of a four-game series against defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers on July 5. A season-high 25,767 attended the Marlins’ second of a three-game set against the New York Yankees on July 31.
Neris’ appearance-ending strike out of Chisholm in the fifth gave him 520 in his career and surpassed Ron Reed for most by a Phillies reliever. The veteran right-hander looked toward the sky as he left the mound and was greeted with hugs from teammates in the dugout.
“Everything came out emotionally, I started to cry,” Neris said. “I don’t know how to explain it to you. I was prepared for (the record), I waited for that and I wanted that. I fought for that today and I got it.”
Marlins: LHP Sean Guenther (back soreness) was placed on the 10-day injured list and 1B Jesús Aguilar (arthroscopic left knee surgery) was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
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