OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 30: Chris Volstad #41 of the Florida Marlins pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on June 30, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
When we look back on the worst month in the history of Marlins baseball, hopefully we will be able to say that the series with Oakland is the one where the Fish finally started to turn things around.
With their 5-4 victory over the A's Thursday afternoon, the Marlins not only won back-to-back games for the first time in over a month, they won a series for the first time since May 24-26 against the Giants, and finally won a one-run game after losing the last 13.
Chris Volstad added his outing to the string of good starts by the Marlins rotation, going seven strong innings, and allowing just one unearned run on seven hits. He didn't have any strikeouts against Oakland's lineup, preferring to record most of his outs via the ground ball.
Volstad's shutout was lost in the seventh when a throwing error by Jose Lopez extended the inning. With two down, David DeJesus worked a walk, and Kurt Suzuki reached on Lopez's error. Adam Rosales singled to score DeJesus and put Oakland on the board.
While the A's struggled to solve Volstad, the Marlins exorcised the demons from their bats against Trevor Cahill, scoring 5 runs on 9 hits, and chasing the starter with a 4-run fifth inning.
Back-to-back doubles by Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison put the Fish up 1-0 in the second inning, and then the offense picked up in the fifth. Emilio Bonifacio singled and stole second, and with two out, Hanley singled him home. Hanley moved to second on a wild pitch by Cahill, and LoMo drove in his second run of the game with a single to plate Hanley. After another single by Mike Stanton, John Buck drove in two with a double to put the Marlins up 5-0, and cut short Cahill's afternoon on the mound.
One small damper on an otherwise happy afternoon was a lackluster showing by the bullpen. Edward Mujica gave up a solo shot to Coco Crisp in the eighth, and Leo Nunez gave up a two-run homer to Suzuki to bring the A's within a run in the ninth.
Despite the nail-biter of a ninth inning, however, the Marlins held on to win. And as little as that has happened over the last month, we'll take a victory however we can get it.
As horrifying as the past four weeks have been for the Marlins, they end June on a positive note. (And speaking of notes, let's hope David Samson was taking some at the Overstock.com Coliseum. $2 tickets? Root beer float giveaways? He needs to take those ideas back with him to South Beach. Not that the promotions are helping the A's much with attendance, by the looks of things.)