Once again, the Marlins found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Ricky Nolasco delivered a strong performance last night, with only four hits and one unearned run over 6 2/3 innings of work. Randy Choate and Edward Mujica came in and delivered a walk each before finishing the seventh inning. Steve Cishek gave up a run in the eighth, which brought Mike Dunn to the mound for the remainder of the inning. The fun really started with Heath Bell’s ninth-inning appearance. A leadoff walk to Rafael Furcal, followed by a double and a single brought Yadier Molina to the plate. A fastball left up in the zone got sent over the left field wall, tying the game.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jose Reyes led off with a strikeout. Hanley Ramirez singled to center field, followed by a Giancarlo Stanton walk. With one out and the winning run in scoring position, Gaby Sanchez grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In the tenth inning, Tyler Greene singled to left field. With the winning run at first and one out, instead of grounding into a double play, Rafael Furcal hit a hard double the opposite way down the left-field line, allowing Greene to score. Chad Gaudin tallied the second out on a soft grounder from Shane Robinson. Matt Holliday reached first base after being grazed on the forearm on an inside pitch. Because of a double-switch screwup by Cardinals manager Mike Matheney, the next batter was Carlos Beltran, followed by pinch-hitter Joe Kelly. Joe Kelly is a opitcher not scheduled to appear until tonight, and had not yet logged a major-league base hit in his career. Beltran drew an intentional walk that loaded the bases, and last night was the night young Mr. Kelly tallied that first base hit, driving Furcal across the plate.
The Marlins did a number of things right last night, and certainly looked like they were on track to follow up their 9-0 shutout of the Blue Jays with another strong win against the powerhouse offense of the Cardinals. A blown save by Heath Bell, a 2-error play by Hanley Ramirez, Gaby Sanchez grounding into a double play in a clutch situation, and a bobble and a bad throw by Jose Reyes turned the game into one of the most frustrating games of the season.
Fans, June is not over for the Marlins yet. Tonight, Carlos Zambrano faces Kyle Lohse, and I suspect the demoralizing effect of last night’s game will be harder to shake off, and that the Cardinal bats will give Big Z some trouble.
Topics: Carlos Beltran, Carlos Zambrano, Chad Gaudin, Edward Mujica, Gaby Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, Joe Kelly, Jose Reyes, Kyle Lohse, Matt Holliday, Miami Marlins, Mike Dunn, Rafael Furcal, Randy Choate, Ricky Nolasco, Shane Robinson, St. Louis Cardinals, Steve Cishek, Tyler Greene, Yadier Molina