Miami Marlins blow lead in 9th, lose game and series to Cincinnati Reds


Very disappointing loss for the Miami Marlins today. In the finale of their three game series with the Cincinnati Reds, the Marlins blew a one run lead in the third inning and lost on a walk-off infield single to end the game. This game was a very interesting game that played very close.

Source: FanGraphs

E Mujica1.0000112.54.145
S Cishek1.0000001.43.110
C Zambrano6.0414260.66-.179
H Bell0.1412003.14-.793
C Coghlan11101003.29.237
E Bonifacio50201011.06.085
L Morrison30101001.14.022
O Infante40101010.95.019
G Dobbs20100001.35.016
H Ramirez41100011.26.010
C Zambrano20100000.99.006
B Hayes41100011.41.006
G Sanchez11000010.49-.013
D Murphy10000010.53-.013
J Reyes50101011.23-.076
G Stanton41100001.19-.083

The way the game started for Marlins starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano, it felt like the team would need a huge offensive output in order to win the game. The first four hitters reached off of Zambrano.

Brandon Phillips led the game off with a single. Zack Cozart drove him in on a double. Joey Votto and Ryan Ludwick walked back-to-back. Zambrano then allowed two more runs to score in the inning, but then got into a groove.

Zambrano was able to retire 13 of 14 batters during a stretch, including 12 straight before Bruce homered with two outs in the sixth inning to give Cincinnati a 4-2 lead. Zambrano went 6 innings giving up four earned runs and four hits, while striking out six and walking just two. Not quite a quality start, but a decent one for Zambrano in his Marlins debut.

The Reds had leads of 3-0 and 4-2 before the Marlins scored three runs to take a 5-4 lead in the seventh.

That seventh inning led off with Bronson Arroyo plunking Greg Dobbs with a pitch on his leg. Brett Hayes then singled. Chris Coghlan came into pinch hit for Zambrano and lined a double to the right-center field wall to drive in Sanchez and push Hayes to third. Jose Reyes grounded out to score another run tie tie the game up at 4. Then Emilio Bonifacio singled past the drawn in Reds infield to give the Marlins a lead.

Arroyo exited after surrendering a hit to Bonifacio and the Reds bullpen was able to hold the Marlins from scoring again in the final 2 and 2/3 innings. Logan Ondrusek got the final two out of the sixth and Aroldis Chapman pitched two shutout innings.

The Marlins had a good performance from their bullpen, until the ninth. Steve Cishek and Edward Mujica kept the Reds off of the board in the seventh and the eight.

The Marlins handed the ball to closer Heath Bell for his first save opportunity of 2012, and his first with the Marlins. Bell allowed a solo home run to Jay Bruce to knot the game at 5.

After retiring Miguel Cairo on a fly ball, Drew Stubbs chopped a single that hit Hanley Ramirez’s glove. Stubbs then moved to third on Ryan Hanigan’s single to right. The Reds were set up 1st and 3rd with only one out.

Pinch hitter Scott Rolen came in and hit a hard ball to Hanley Ramirez at third. Hanley tried to field the ball cleanly, but ended up knocking the ball down and Stubbs scored the game winning run. There was not much Hanley could do. The only way the Marlins would have gotten out of the inning was if Hanley started a double play. A double play would require perfect execution all round to happen.

Unfortunately, the Marlins did not have that chance to try, but fans should not blame Hanley, that is a play he will make as he gains more experience at third.

Heath Bell placed the blame of the loss on himself:

"“My job is to save games, and I didn’t do it,” Bell said. “I need to earn the respect from these guys. I need to be more accountable. I didn’t make a pitch when I needed to make a pitch.”"

Not going to lie, but this was a tough game to take. The Marlins should have won the game, but there is nothing to do but move on. Bell is not an “elite” closer anymore and is not going to be a lock down closer, even Mariano Rivera blew a save the other day.

The Marlins will travel to Philadelphia to face the Philadelphia Phillies tomorrow. The pitching match-up is a treat. Anibal Sanchez will go up against Cole Hamels. If both pitchers are on, it should be a low-scoring affair.

The series review for the Reds-Marlins will be up tomorrow as will the Marlins-Phillies series preview.