Hero of the Game: Josh Johnson (+.269 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Steve Cishek (-.30 WPA)
Thanks to Josh Johnson going seven strong innings and Omar Infante being awesome, the Marlin's defeated the Astros in twelve innings. The Marlin's had a 3-2 lead in the ninth, but Steve Cishek couldn't get three outs to end it. Luckily, the Marlins got Omar Infante to deliver a clutch bases-loaded single in the 12th to give Miami a two-run lead. This win makes the Marlin's road trip their most successful road trip in franchise history.
Wow, that was a crazy game. The Marlins came very close to losing this game, but they definitely deserved the win. First of all, Josh Johnson was very good. He ran into a little trouble in the first two innings, but he was outstanding after then. Johnson finished after seven innings two earned runs, four hits, six strikeouts, and two walks. It was nice to see Johnson start to figure things out. The Marlins won't be able to compete in the N.L. East unless Johnson can give them quality innings.
The Marlins first scored in the top of the first when Jed Lowrie let a ball bounce off his glove, letting Jose Reyes score from second. The Astros wasted no time tying up the game, Jordan Schafer scored after John Buck made an awful decision trying to throw out Schafer at third after a wild pitch. That was one of the worst defensive plays made by a catcher that I've seen in a while. There was obviously no play at third and Buck was even a couple of feet farther than he would normally be making that throw. There's no excuse for a boneheaded decision like Buck made on that play.
Chris Johnson hit a 0-1 slider just barely over the left field wall in the bottom half of the second to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. That was probably Josh Johnson's biggest mistake of the night, and the other Johnson made him pay. The Marlins tied up the game in the fourth inning when John Buck singled, driving in Giancarlo Stanton. Later that inning, Jose Reyes got a 1-0 fastball and hit a hard grounder just out of Jed Lowrie's reach, scoring Emilio Bonifacio. The Marlins were not facing a very good pitcher in Lucas Harrell. Harrell didn't seem like he belonged pitching in a major league rotation. But then again, who said the Astros were a major league rotation?
In the top of the seventh, Wilton Lopez plunked Hanley Ramirez in the back with a 94 MPH fastball. As Hanley walked to first, he was obviously saying something to Lopez, The home plate umpire, Tim Timmons, was very aware of this and he tried his best to shield a visibly upset Hanley Ramirez from Lopez. Earlier this season, Ramirez homered off Lopez, and was very fired up as he circled the bases. Smartly, Astros manager Brad Mills removed Lopez from the game. As Lopez was walking back to the dugout, he made a hand signal to Ramirez crossing his fingers over his eyes, making everyone assume he hit Ramirez on purpose. Lopez will most likely be suspended for his immature actions.
Personally, I loved Ramirez's response to being drilled by Lopez. Ramirez appeared under control, but he wasn't going to let Lopez hit him without Ramirez getting to say something afterwards. Ramirez acted classy, motivated, and mature. I'm pretty sure that the Hanley Ramirez of a couple of years ago might have acted different, so I felt proud of Ramirez. Actually it's really weird how we feel proud of our favorite baseball players. But I did feel proud of him, despite not ever meeting him, I felt like I was his father. Oh well, baseball will do that to you.
Pitching in relief for the Marlins, Edward Mujica looked very impressive. Facing three batters in eighth, Mujica generated two groundballs and an easy flyout. He has looked a lot better in his last couple of outings, which is positive news for a Marlins bullpen that needs consistency. Unfortunately, Steve Cishek had his first horrendous outing of the season.
To lead off the bottom of the ninth, Jed Lowrie got a 3-2 pitch from Cishek, and hit it to the warning track in left field. Although he didn't make it look pretty, Logan Morrison bent backwards and somehow caught the ball for the first out of the inning. The next batter, Carlos Lee, hit a 2-2 slider into right field. The ball had little carry on it and Giancarlo Stanton had to rush in and attempt a diving catch. The ball got past Stanton, and Carlos Lee pulled into a third without even garnering a throw. Yes, you read that right. Carlos Lee tripled, and it wasn't even close. He's not Bengie Molina slow, but he's still one of the slower players in baseball.
With two outs and runners on first and third, Brian Bogusevic singled into left field tying the game for the Astros. Another day, another blown save for a Marlins pitcher. Luckily, the Marlins weren't going done without a fight. Even though they didn't actually fight, you know what I mean. After Cishek's implosion, Heath Bell, Randy Choate, and Ryan Webb combined to throw three shutout innings.
After coming close in the tenth and eleventh, the Marlins finally broke through in the twelfth inning. Logan Morrison led off the inning with a single, and he was followed by a Stanton walk. With runners on first and third with two outs, John Buck drew a clutch walk to load the bases. Then, Omar Infante got a slider on the outside corner and lined it into center field to give the Marlins a 5-3 lead. Ryan Webb had no problem retiring the last three hitters to end it in the bottom of the twelfth.
The Marlins will return to home to face the Mets Saturday at 7:10 PM ET. Mark Buerhle will face Johan Santana of the Mets. Both pitchers have been very good in their last three starts, so this will likely be another low scoring game. Hopefully the Marlins can continue playing the way they did during this unforgettable road trip.