BALTIMORE — A season of delays produced another one for the Miami Marlins.
The start of Miami’s first game in nine days was delayed 40 minutes as Major League Baseball awaited final coronavirus test results to clear the Marlins to resume play Tuesday at Baltimore.
Multiple coronavirus tests for the Marlins came back inconclusive but were rerun, and all came back negative, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The Marlins were finally cleared to play and arrived at Camden Yards after 5 p.m. ET, but by 6:15 p.m., the teams still had not agreed on a starting time, which was eventually set for 8:15 p.m., 40 minutes past the originally scheduled 7:35 start.
The wait proved worth it. Back from an eight-day hiatus, the Marlins found enough power and pitching within their vastly overhauled roster to beat the Orioles 4-0. Francisco Cervelli and Jesus Aguilar homered for the Marlins.
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.”
Once they finally got back on the diamond, the Marlins backed up the assertion of president of baseball operations Michael Hill, who said beforehand: “We expect to win games.”
So does Mattingly.
“We lost some guys, but we like our guys who are coming up,” he said.
The Marlins put a whopping 17 players on the injured list, and starting second baseman Isan Diaz opted out for the rest of the season. They showed up with an equal number of replacements on their 30-man roster — some from their minor league camp, others obtained via trade and a few plucked off the waiver wire. They included an Olympic short track speed skating medalist (middle infielder Eddy Alvarez) and a couple of pitchers named Josh Smith (Josh A. Smith and Josh D. Smith).
“We’ve just got to try to hold down the fort and get some guys back, survive this trip and see where we’re at,” the manager said. “This one felt good. We’ve been through a lot.”
“I’m going to have to write a book after this one,” Mattingly said. “You get tested and you persevere and you learn from a lot of situations.”
The Marlins’ season had been on pause since July 26 after at least 18 players and 21 overall in the traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 following a series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Tuesday’s game, the beginning of a four-game series, was a makeup from July 29, which was supposed to be Baltimore’s home opener. The Orioles instead played the New York Yankees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.