Hanley Ramirez blasts 8th inning three-run home run to lead Miami Marlins past Chicago Cubs, 5-2
By Ehsan Kassim
Ozzie Guillen was back with the Miami Marlins Tuesday evening as the club took on the Chicago Cubs. The team did not see as many people as they anticipated. That is both to protest Ozzie Guillen as well as the crowd. The announced attendance at the game was a record low 24,544 for Marlins Park. Whether or not this was a direct cause of the comments made by Ozzie Guillen is still to be seen. The Marlins hope that attendance will start to pick back up.
Pregame, all the media attention was on Ozzie Guillen. The media surrounded him to see what the outspoken manager would have to say. Ozzie passed his first test. He did not say anything regretful and now we can start to move on.
The game itself was a very interesting one. Josh Johnson and Ryan Dempster were mixed in a pitchers dual. What ever had been wrong for Johnson in his first two starts, seemed to be corrected on this night. Geoff Parkins will have more on that later today.
The first run of the game was scored in the fourth inning. After back-to-back singles to open the inning by Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro, the Cubs were set up with runners on the corners and nobody out. Castro then stole second base. This is however when Josh Johnson was able to settle down.
Johnson induced a ground ball out by Alfonso Soriano. That plated Barney and gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead. JJ was then able to strike Ian Stewart out on a nasty slider and got Steve Clevenger to ground out to end the inning. Johnson did a nice job of limiting the damage.
The Marlins finally got to Dempster in the fifth via two unearned runs. After a Gaby Sanchez double, Dempster airmailed a Josh Johnson grounder into the crowd. This allowed Gaby to score easily from second and Johnson took second base on the play. Emilio Bonifacio then came through with an RBI single to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead.
In the seventh, Johnson allowed an RBI single to Bryan LaHair to tie the game at two a piece. Johnson was allowed to finish the seventh inning. On the night, JJ went seven innings allowing seven hits, two runs, walking three, and striking out three. Unfortunately, the Marlins were unable to score in the bottom half of the seventh, which gave JJ a no-decision.
Steve Cishek pitched the eight inning for the Marlins and he was effective once again. After striking out Reed Johnson, Cishek hit David DeJesus. Cishek was able to bounce back and induce the Marlins fourth double play of the game to get out of the inning.
This set up a heroic inning for the Marlins third baseman, Hanley Ramirez. After Jose Reyes reached on a Barney error and Emilio Bonifacio walked for the second time in the game, the stage was set for Ramirez. Hanley hit a laser shot to deep left and just missed hitting the home run structure. The “Thing” went off anyways as Hanley had belted a three-run homer to give the Marlins a 5-2 lead.
It was the second straight game where Ramirez had delivered the game winning hit for the Marlins. Only this time, it was not a walk-off hit. The Marlins had to send their struggling closer to the mound once more.
And Heath Bell came through for the Marlins. On just eight pitches (seven for strikes), Bell was able to get Starlin Castro to fly out, strike out Alfonso Soriano, and get Ian Stewart to fly out.
The Marlins have now won two straight games and are looking to win the series against the Cubs tonight. Mark Buehrle will take on Matt Garza.
Prediction: The Cubs win the ball game 4-1. Buehrle will continue to be left without any run support, as Matt Garza will hurl a gem for the Cubs.