April 15, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez (2) celebrates after hitting the game winning RBI single in the 11th to defeat the Houston Astros 5-4 at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Hero Of The Game: Third baseman Hanley Ramirez (.678 WPA)
Goat Of The Game: First baseman Gaby Sanchez (-.168 WPA)
Play Of The Game: In the eighth inning, Hanley Ramirez hits a home run to deep center field, scoring Emilio Bonifacio and tying the game at 4 (0.340 WPA).
Starter Anibal Sanchez didn't go as deep as the Marlins would have liked him too, though he had a quality start. Sanchez went six innings while giving up five hits and three runs, only two of which were earned.
The Marlins took an early lead, as second baseman Omar Infante, who was out of the lineup on Saturday night, hit the first Marlins home run at Marlins Park, setting off the home run feature which many have been waiting to see. Infante has already hit four long balls after only hitting seven a year ago.
Following an uneventful bottom of the third, the Astros were able to square up some balls off of Sanchez. Brian Bogusevic and Chris Johnson both singled to open the inning, and Juan Castro reached on an error by Infante which plated Bogusevic. Johnson eventually scored on a ground ball hit by Jose Altuve, which gave Houston a 3-1 advantage.
Sanchez was able to pitch two more solid innings, and Ryan Webb added an inning of scoreless relief, but then the Astros were able to get another run off of Mike Dunn in the top of the 8th, after Bogusevic singled and scored on a single off the bat of Altuve.
Down 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Emilio Bonifacio walked to open the frame. Hanley Ramirez hammered a Wilton Lopez pitch to deep center field and tied the game at 4.
The Marlins' bullpen was not in good shape after an extra inning game on Friday night and a wild ninth inning on Saturday. Chad Gaudin pitched well in the 9th and 10th, but Joey Cora had a tough decision to make. With runners on first and third and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Cora sent Gaudin to the plate instead of using a pinch hitter.
"It was gut-wrenching, but we had no choice," Cora said . "He was the last man standing. It was what it was. We didn't have a choice. If we were losing, we'd take a chance or whatever.
The bottom of the 11th was when the Marlins worked their magic. Catcher John Buck led off the inning with a single, and was pinch run for by Brett Hayes. Chris Coghlan placed down a nice sacrifice bunt which sent Hayes to second. The Astros intentionally walked Jose Reyes, and after a wild pitch, did the same to Emilio Bonifacio. With the bases loaded and one out, Hanley Ramirez sent a ball deep to right center field to win the game.
"I've got to give credit to Perez, Eddie," Ramirez said. "He was watching videos from 2010, 2009. Right before the game yesterday, about 45 minutes before the game, I had a chance to go to the cage."