It was a promising night for the Marlins Friday as they opened their first home series of the season at Sun Life Stadium in front of 40,666 fans--the largest home opener since 2005.
Volstad was on and dealing through six innings. He allowed just two hits and one walk to the Dodgers, and at one point retired 11 in a row. With Chris on his game, it seemed that the most abysmal aspect of the evening might prove to be Scott Stapp butchering the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner.
Of course, that was before the late-inning sloppy defense and shaky bullpen made their scheduled appearance.
Not many people had expected a pitchers duel going into the game, but Hiroki Kuroda was dealing as well, and put on a nice show through eight innings. He gave up just five hits and a walk, and struck out seven. The lone run Kuroda allowed came courtesy of Jorge Cantu, who has had an RBI in all four games the Marlins have played this season. In the bottom of the sixth, Cantu singled to score Cameron Maybin and give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
Vols ran into some trouble in the seventh when Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake both doubled to tie the game. Blake DeWitt followed with a single that put the Dodgers in the lead, and with one out, Chris handed the ball over to the bullpen.
Unfortunately, Hopper was not available.
Clay Hensley came on in relief of Chris, and it seemed as though things picked up right where they left off on Wednesday night. Hensley promptly loaded the bases, and Hanley committed a costly error when he fielded a ground ball from Reed Johnson and tried to get the force out at second. He ended up throwing the ball into right field instead, which allowed two runs to score and gave the Dodgers a three-run lead.
Next up out of the pen was Jose Veras. He miraculously escaped the eighth without giving up a run, but did commit the Marlins second error in as many innings when he lobbed the ball into center field on a pick-off attempt at second base. In the ninth, Veras walked one and gave up a double before he was lifted from the game.
When Renyel Pinto came out of the bullpen, he was met with a chorus of boos from Fish fans who clearly weren't ready to forget Wednesday's meltdown in New York. In response, Pinto served up a double to James Loney, and (naturally) both of his inherited runners scored. Manny Ramirez singled on a pop-up that Gaby couldn't get to, and put the Dodgers up 7-1 before the inning was over.
The Marlins did try to stage a bit of a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Wes Helms had a 2-run pinch hit double--his 45th pinch hit with the Marlins--which established a new franchise record. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.
If games only lasted six innings, the Fish might have a perfect record right now.