May 20, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson (55) delivers in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Hero Of The Game: Josh Johnson (.348 WPA)
Goat Of The Game: Chris Coghlan (-.068 WPA)
Play Of The Game: With two on and two out in the bottom of the 7th inning, Josh Johnson gets pinch hitter Casey Kotchman to ground out.
The Marlins had made several significant roster moves after a loss in Cleveland on Saturday night, and lost another key player on Sunday morning. After placing Emilio Bonifacio, the player with the most stolen bases in the National League, on the disabled list, and demoting first baseman Gaby Sanchez, the Fish found out that Omar Infante had a death in his family and needed to return to his home town in Venezuela. Despite losing key pieces to an already slumping offense, the Marlins were able to put together a 5-3 win to earn the series victory against the Indians.
Although Marlins hitters had previous success against Indians starter Derek Lowe, Lowe still entered the game with a 6-1 record and an ERA just over two. Jose Reyes led off the game with a double, and center fielder Bryan Petersen, who was starting in place of Bonifacio, bunted him to third. Hanley Ramirez then hit a ground ball to second base to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
Josh Johnson, who had never faced the Indians in his career, was going for win number two after picking up his first victory against the Pirates at Marlins Park earlier in the week. Johnson worked around a lead off walk to Shin-Soo Choo in the first, and shut the Indians down through the first few innings.
After Lowe had retired the first two batters in the top of the third, the Marlins put a two out rally together. Hanley Ramirez, batting over .500 against Lowe in his career, hit a single up the middle. Greg Dobbs, who got the start at third base, crushed a ball to right field for a double that put the Marlins up 2-0.
Johnson was cruising through the first four innings, until the Indians tacked on a run in the fifth. Michael Brantley singled and then stole second. Johnny Damon hit a ground ball that moved Brantley to third, and former Marlin Jose Lopez singled to cut the lead in half, making it 2-1. With runners on first and second and just one out, Choo hit a ground ball to first. Morrison threw to second to get the force out, and Choo was called out at first after catcher Lou Marson had prevented Reyes from being able to complete the double play.
The Marlins were able to knock Lowe out of the game after six innings, but the Indians began having good swings off of Johnson in the bottom of the seventh. Carlos Santana led off the innings with a single, and after recording two outs, Johnson gave up a double to Jose Lopez. With runners on second and third and two outs, Johnson fell behind pinch hitter Casey Kotchman 3-0 before throwing two strikes and getting him to hit a ground ball to first base.
Offensively, the Marlins struck for three runs in the top half of the eighth. Greg Dobbs began the inning with another double, and Mike Stanton walked. A Logan Morrison double and a Brett Hayes single drove in two runs, and after Chris Coghlan's RBI ground out, the Marlins had a 5-1 lead which they held heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Randy Choate pitched a scoreless eighth, and Ozzie Guillen left him in the game to pitch the ninth because of the Indians' predominantly lefty lineup. Carlos Santana reached on an error by Greg Dobbs, and after he recorded an out, Choate gave up a single to Damon. Heath Bell was brought into the game, and although he allowed two inherited runners to score, he was able to get the save and send the Marlins back to Miami after a winning (3-2) road trip.
Beginning against the Rockies on Monday night, the Marlins have their longest homestand of the season, a 10 game stay at Marlins Park that will see them face the Rockies, the Giants, and the Nationals, respectively.