Last night's game was filled with more drama than a play by Shakespeare. Okay, maybe not, but it was interesting.
Both Alex Sanabia and Derek Lowe kicked into cruise control until the fifth. In the fifth Martin Prado led off with a home run to make the score 2-1 Marlins. Jason Heyward followed with a single and Chipper Jones popped out to Hanely. And that would end the night for the young Mr. Sanabia. Brian Sanches came on in relief and induced a Brian McCann double play to end the inning.
Now you should be saying to yourself, why is this game exciting? Trust me, it gets more interesting.
In the sixth, Danny led off with a double to left. With one out, Cody Ross walked and with two outs Lowe walked Ronny Paulino to load the bases. Bryan Petersen pinch hit for the Chief and singled to right to score Danny and Cody to make the score 4-1 Marlins. All was well. Or so we thought.
Burke Badenhop took the mound to start the seventh and retired two straight and then walked Heyward. Edwin thought the way to go was turn around Chipper and brought in Taylor Tankersley. Tank didn't have it going and walked Jones to bring McCann to the plate as the tying run. Normally Tankersley has success against left-handed hitters, but last night was not the case. Let's face it, he was pitching to Brian "freaking" McCann. McCann tied the game with a three-run souvenir shot to right. That was all any Marlins fan needed to see of Tankersley, and Clay Hensley came on the get the final out. Marlins 4, Braves 4.
Let's go to the bottom half of the seventh. First up was Gaby Sanchez, and he tattooed a Peter Moylan pitch into the left field bleachers. Once again, the Marlins had the lead and the score was now 5-4.
The score stayed the same until the ninth, and that is where it really got interesting.
Since Leo Nunez wasn't available to close out the game, due to the fact that the Marlins have won some games recently and it was felt he should get a day off, on came Jose Veras to be the acting closer. This would be a complete disaster. Prado hit the second pitch by Veras into deep left for a double. With one out and Chipper at the plate, the skies opened up and the rains came. Apparently the reminisces of Bonnie didn't lie over the ocean causing a 13-minute rain delay. But really, what could happen in just 13-minutes? The answer to the question is: total crap.
When the game resumed Veras couldn't find the strike zone with both hands and a flashlight. He walked Chipper on four straight pitches to bring McCann to the plate. Of course, McCann singled driving home Prado and sending Chipper to third. Veras then walked Troy Glaus to load the bases with one out. Matt Diaz was sent to the plate to pinch hit and Veras promptly hit him to score the go ahead run. Cue Billy Wagner to start warming up. The top of the ninth would end with the Braves up 6-5.
In the bottom of the ninth with the Braves closer Wagner on the mound, Wes Helm led off with a walk. (Helms, being the savvy veteran he is, knows that Wagner doesn't really get hitters out, hitters get themselves out when he pitches.) Back to the game. Emilio Bonifacio was sent in to pinch run for Wes. With one out Gaby singled to center and Boni did next to everything wrong running the bases. He hesitated rounding second on his way to third, but fortunately Melky Cabrera threw the ball high and off line or Boni would have been out by a mile. As it stood, the Marlins had the tying run on third and the winning run on second. The Braves then intentionally walked Hanley to load the bases. With two outs and the pitcher's spot in the order due up, there was only one thing to do, send Donnie Murphy to the plate. When Tommy Hutton saw that Donnie Murphy was going to be the pinch hitter he said: "Why, not?"
On the second pitch of the at bat, McCann couldn't handle it and when it got away from him, and Boni was able to score on the passed ball. (Well, he did after some deliberation and coaxing.) So with the game tied and the winning run only ninety feet away, Donnie Murphy did what he does best. He hit a walk-off single to center to win the game. That is his second pinch-hit walk-off this week. In days of old, there would be ballads written about him and children would be singing them in the streets.
I recommend to the Marlins store to start stocking up on #22 Donnie Murphy replica jerseys. Heck, I'll buy one. Shoot, I'll buy two and send one to GameFish. This is becoming the stuff legends are made of.
The Marlins are now back to .500.
The game had everything: joy, pain, joy again, more pain, a rain delay and a hero. I guess that is why we watch.