With brooms in hand, the Marlins took the field Wednesday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium to wrap up their homestand and their series with the L.A. Dodgers. Thanks to home runs from Rod Barajas and Andre Ethier, and a blown four run lead, the only sweeping that occurred in the series finale was by the grounds crew.
The Marlins struck first against the Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers with a four-run second inning. Consecutive one-out singles by Mike Stanton, Greg Dobbs and Emilio Bonifacio loaded up the bases, and Brett Hayes hit a long fly ball off the wall in left, barely missing a grand slam, to plate the first run of the game. Anibal Sanchez struck out swinging, and a bases-clearing double by Chris Coghlan made it 4-0.
After the second inning, the Fish didn’t get another hit off of Billingsley, and only managed two hits in the remainder of the game. With a 4-0 lead, perhaps the bats thought it would be safe to help the equipment manager get a head start on packing for the road trip. That would have been well and good if Anibal Sanchez and the Marlins ‘pen could hold their four-run lead. But…
In the top of the fourth, Andre Ethier extended his Major League record for longest April hitting streak to 24 with a single to center. James Loney followed with a single to put two on for Rod Barajas, who hit his fifth home run of the season, a 3-run shot to bring the Dodgers within a run.
Anibal settled down in the fifth and didn’t allow a run, but after 74 pitches, four hits, and three runs, his afternoon on the mound was over. Mike Dunn took over for Sanchy in the top of the sixth and gave up a one-out single to Matt Kemp, who stole second on a wild pitch. But with the tying run in scoring position, Dunn struck out Loney and Barajas to end the threat.
The Fish had a chance to add on in the bottom of the sixth when Mike Stanton and Gregg Dobbs worked one-out walks, but once again they struggled with runners in scoring position. Bonifacio grounded out and Hayes struck out on a foul tip to end the inning.
It was Ryan Webb who gave up the tying run to the Dodgers in the seventh. Aaron Miles led off with a single, and a pinch hit RBI double by Juan Uribe made it 4-4. Almost as bad as the Marlins losing their lead, was the Marlins losing their center fielder. Chris Coghlan left the game in the seventh due to pain in his shoulder.
The Dodgers threatened again in the eighth due to some uncharacteristic wildness from Clay Hensley, who walked the bases full before Edwin came out with the hook. Edward Mujica was given the task of getting the Marlins out of the inning, and he did it with one pitch, inducing a ground ball from Ivan DeJesus for a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the jam.
Leo Nunez took care of the Dodgers with a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Marlins had an opportunity to walk off in the bottom of the inning off of Matt Guerrier. Gregg Dobbs led off with a single (the Marlins’ first hit since the second inning), and Boni’s bunt single put two on with nobody out. Once again, though, the Fish failed to hit with runners in scoring position. Brett Hayes was able to move the runners up with a sac bunt, but Scott Cousins struck out and John Buck’s pinch hit ground out ended the inning.
Add Brian Sanches to the list of Marlins pitchers who struggled in the game. Chief gave up a leadoff home run to Andre Ethier in the top of the tenth to put the Dodgers on top, where they would stay.
Vicente Padilla worked three ground ball outs from the Fish in the bottom of the tenth, and the Dodgers salvaged one game in the series.