In a 10-inning 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks last night, Ricky Nolasco had to dig deep and find what it takes to overcome adversity. Starting his outing with an awful 5-run first inning, Nolasco demonstrated that extra something that differentiates elite competitors from ordinary mortals. In the teeth of an awful season, and despite the horrible first inning, he went five full innings, allowing no runs after the first. He gave up four of his six hits and both of his walks in that first inning, notching two strikeouts in the remainder of his appearance.
A who’s who of bullpen-dwellers finished the game for the Marlins. The sixth brought in Mike Dunn and Ryan Webb. Following Webb, with an inning each, came Carlos Zambrano, Heath Bell, Chad Gaudin, and Steve Cishek. Six walks were issued in relief, but only Dunn and Cishek gave up one hit each. No runs were scored by the Diamondbacks after the first inning.
While notable for the utter absence of any trace of a quitter’s mentality, the defense was only part of the story. Despite going 7-21 in team RISP and leaving ten runners in scoring position with two outs, the lineup managed to put up 15 hits last night. After tying the game in the 6th, it took a 10th-inning slap shot single by Giancarlo Stanton to tally the coup-de-grace RBI.
The Marlins looked like a solid team last night, with both sides of the ball contributing to a tough skin-of-the-teeth victory in the desert. If there is a late-season momentum shift, it looks to be swinging to Miami. The Marlins are now only one game behind Philadelphia, and may yet crawl out of the cellar to finish the season with a modicum of self-respect.