The Miami Marlins finally earned their sixth victory of the month of June. It surpasses their win total for the month from a season ago. The win has to be easily, the most gratifying win of the season for the Marlins, taking into consideration everything that has happened over the course of the past few weeks.
The first two games of the series against the St. Louis Cardinals were a microcosm of the Marlins struggles in the month of June. Monday night, the Marlins blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning and ended up losing the game in the tenth inning, blowing an opportunity to win the game in the bottom half of the ninth. On Tuesday, the Carlos Zambrano got beat up in the first inning, allowing five unearned runs, and never got back into the ballgame, losing that game 5-2.
Wednesday night, the Marlins were finally able to fight back against the month of June and pull out a victory.
The game did not quite start the way the Marlins would have wanted it to start. Anibal Sanchez, starting for the Marlins, came into the game with an ERA/FIP of 8.09/5.43 for the month of June. In the first inning, it looked like it would be more of these same struggles that Anibal had suffered through this month.
After walking the second batter of the game, John Jay, Matt Holliday doubled to deep right to set-up a second and third situation with Carlos Beltran at the plate. Beltran was able to score Jay on a sacrifice fly, which was followed up by a run-scoring double for David Freese. Matt Carpenter then scorched a single to Giancarlo Stanton, who was able to gather the ball and easily throw out Freese at home plate for the final out of the inning. Stanton bailed out Anibal big time, and Anibal’s night would improve from there, as he was able to retire 9 straight hitters after the out at home.
After coming up with a big hit for the Cardinals in their win on Monday, Joe Kelly was on the mound for the Cardinals. For the most part, Kelly was able to control the Marlins hitters through the first four innings, scattering three base hits.
In the fifth inning, the Marlins offense made a comeback. After Omar Infante and Gaby Sanchez each walked to lead off the inning, John Buck was able to single up the middle and cut the lead in half. After an Anibal Sanchez sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, Jose Reyes grounded out to tie the ballgame at two a piece.
The action was limited until the seventh inning, when Tony Cruz, who was starting for the Marlins killer this series, Yadier Molina, blasted the first pitch he saw from Anibal to start the inning out of the park to put the Cards back on top.
The Marlins would quickly respond with a John Buck one out homer in the bottom half of the seventh. Logan Morrison, who was brought into pinch hit, followed Buck with his own home run. The home run was ruled a home run, then the first base umpire ruled it as a double, after a look at instant replay, the call was overturned and LoMo had given the Marlins a 4-3 lead.
Steve Cishek came on in relief of Anibal Sanchez and gave the Marlins a quick, 1-2-3 inning. The Marlins were able to tack on a run on an Omar Infante double to stretch their lead to 5-3. Heath Bell was brought out to close the game.
After a lead off single by Carpenter, Bell was able to retire the following three hitters to close out the game, but that did not mean that the save did not come without any scares. Yadier Molina, pinch hitting for the pitcher, tabbed a ball back to Bell, who fired the ball to second base. Jose Reyes was late covering second base and the ball got by him, luckily for the Marlins, Infante was there and was able to scoop the ball up and throw Molina out. Bell then got Allen Craig to fly out to end the game.
The Marlins win 5-3, behind a strong start by Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez lasted seven innings, allowing seven hits, striking out four, and walking just two. It was his best start of the month of June and the first time he went seven innings since May 29th against the Washington Nationals.
The Marlins bounced back in a big way tonight and earned a very important win for the ball club. Hopefully with this win, the Marlins can build some momentum and start a winning streak. The Marlins will next host the last team they beat in a series to start the month of June, the Philadelphia Phillies.