BALTIMORE – Finally back on the baseball diamond after enduring eight days of virus testing, hotel room service and lengthy bus rides, the Miami Marlins scratched out a victory worth savoring.
Following one final delay in their effort to return from a miserable coronavirus-induced hiatus, the Marlins found enough power and pitching within their vastly overhauled roster to beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 Tuesday night.
Francisco Cervelli and Jesús Aguilar homered for the Marlins, who had their season halted after 18 players tested positive for COVID-19 following the opening series in Philadelphia.
All the happiness that playing baseball brings was displayed when Cervelli slammed a 3-1 pitch from John Means over the left-field wall to give Miami a 1-0 lead in the fifth. The players in the dugout cheered, and Cervelli saluted them as the rounded third and headed for home.
“These guys love to play, right? That’s what you see," manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ve been in a hotel for a long time. Guys are happy to be out."
Pablo López threw five innings of two-hit ball and the bullpen allowed just one hit in Miami's first shutout victory since Sept. 8 against Kansas City.
“Give him credit. He threw a really nice game," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said of Lopez. “We just didn't swing the bats well."
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Marlins were still awaiting the result of further COVID-19 tests, a process that stalled their arrival at Camden Yards and pushed back the scheduled 7:35 p.m. start by 41 minutes.