Hero of the Game (Largest WPA): Giancarlo Stanton (1-for 4, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.401 WPA)
Goat of the Game (Lowest WPA): Logan Morrison (1-for-5, 2 SO, -0.094 WPA)
Play of the Game: Giancarlo Stanton homored, scoring Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Austin Kearns (0.455 WPA for the Marlins)
Three great factors contributed to the Marlins' victory last night. Giancarlo Stanton reminded anyone who ever doubted his ability that he is an excellent player by hitting a monstrous grand slam to left field, Jamie Moyer pitched like everyone expects a 49-year-old soft-tosser to pitch, and Mark Buehrle recovered nicely from an ugly start.
Buehrle's Rocky First Inning
Mark Buehrle this year has been exactly what the Marlins asked for when they signed his four-year, $58 million contract. Before last night, he had a 3.17 ERA in 54 innings pitched, making him a well above-average contributor. But Buehrle began last night's game with a disastrous first inning and looked poised to have his worst start ever as a Marlin.
The trouble began with back-to-back singles from Jordan Pacheco and Carlos Gonzalez. The situation then worsened when Michael Cuddyer hit a double to left field and Troy Tulowitzki unloaded on a change-up right over the plate, homering to left field.
After Tulowitzki's home run, Buehrle found his stride and the Rockies encountered the same pitcher who never allows walks and hardly ever strikes out batters.
That Giancarlo Stanton At-Bat
The Marlins offense faced an uphill battle from the get-go, but they proved resilient, scoring a run in the bottom of the third off an Austin Kearns single. Mark Buehrle even contributed to the game, hitting a questionable double down the right field line in the bottom of the fourth. Reyes then hit a line drive single to center field, scoring Buehrle. After Bryan Petersen struck out, Hanley Ramirez and Austin Kearns both walked, setting up a two-out bases loaded situation for slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
This at-bat is worth breaking down pitch by pitch.
Moyer attempted to paint the edge of the zone with the first two pitches, but Stanton was not fooled, taking a ball and fouling off the second pitch. The third pitch was high and an easy take. Stanton then fouled off the next two pitches, making the count 2-2. At no point did Moyer get a called or swinging strike against Stanton. Moyer once again tried to shave the outside edge, but Stanton wisely took the pitch. With the bases loaded and a 3-2 count, Moyer put his fate in Stanton's hands and threw a pitch right down the middle of the plate.
The rest is history.