June 25, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco (right) is taken out of the game by manager Ozzie Guillen (center) as catcher John Buck (left) looks on during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Hero Of The Game: Ricky Nolasco (.281 WPA)
Goat Of The Game: Heath Bell (-.363 WPA)
Miami entered Monday night's game against St.Louis with a total of five June wins, which matches the number of wins the Marlins had in June of 2011. After about eight innings, it appeared as if the Marlins would earn their sixth win in June, a month that continues to give them trouble. However, Heath Bell gave up four ninth inning runs, and it was all downhill from there, as Miami fell to the Cardinals for the second time on the year.
Ricky Nolasco, facing a lineup that has given him trouble in the past, got in some trouble early, but then was able to settle in, keeping St.Louis off the board despite multiple opportunities through three innings. Nolasco had some pain after fielding a Jon Jay bunt in the first, but remained in the game. The Marlins are just one of two major league teams to use only five starting pitchers thus far.
Offensively, the Marlins got on the board against Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook in the bottom of the third. John Buck walked to lead off the inning, and advanced to second on a Ricky Nolasco sacrifice bunt. Jose Reyes then hit a ball down the left field line to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead, despite being thrown out at third base.
Nolasco continued to dominate the Cardinals' lineup, and the offense got going again in the bottom of the fifth. Scott Cousins, who has played well since being called up from New Orleans, began the inning with a single, but was caught stealing on what appeared to be a hit and run. John Buck followed with a single of his own, and Ricky Nolasco put him in scoring position with another sacrifice bunt. Jose Reyes hit a ground ball through the hole on the right side of the infield, giving the Marlins a 2-0 lead through five.
After a scoreless sixth inning for both teams, St.Louis was able to get to Nolasco in the seventh. With one out, David Freese singled to left. Nolasco retired Daniel Descalso before Skip Schumaker, pinch hitting for Westbrook, walked and Rafael Furcal reached on an error. Ozzie Guillen brought Randy Choate in to face Jon Jay, who was pinch hit for by Shane Robinson. Freese scored on a passed ball, which made it a 2-1 game. With the bases loaded and two outs, a Matt Holliday line drive hit Robinson as he headed to second, which ended the inning.
The Marlins were able to cross the plate four times in the bottom of the seventh against Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez, as Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton both walked with the bases loaded, and Logan Morrsison and Greg Dobbs both drove in runs, giving the Marlins a 6-1 advantage through seven.
Steve Cishek walked Carlos Beltran to begin the eighth, and after retiring Allen Craig, Yadier Molina singled to center field. David Freese reached on an error by Hanley Ramirez, and after bobbling the grounder, Ramirez threw the ball into right field trying to record an out at second base, which allowed the Cardinals to make it a 6-2 game. Mike Dunn struck out Descalso and Matt Carpenter to end the inning.
Heath Bell was called upon to pitch the top of the ninth and had a hard time throwing strikes. Rafeal Furcal lead off the inning with a walk, which was followed by a one out double by Matt Holliday. Carlos Beltran singled and Allen Craig hit a sacrifice fly, making it a 6-4 game. With two outs and Carlos Beltran on first, Yadier Molina hit the game-tying home run. Bell got Freese to hit a ground ball for the final out of the inning.
Hanley Ramirez hit a one out single in the bottom of the ninth, and after lineup card controversy, Victor Marte gave up a single to Giancarlo Stanton. Gaby Sanchez then pinch hit for Bell, and grounded into a double play, sending the game into extra innings.
Chad Gaudin recorded a quick out before giving up a single to Tyler Greene to start the tenth. Rafael Furcal followed with an RBI double, and pinch hitter Joe Kelly, who will be pitching against the Marlins on Sunday, hit an infield single with the bases loaded to give the Cardinals a two run lead heading into the home half of the tenth.
John Buck singled to drive in Omar Infante, who hit a one out double off of Cardinals closer Jason Motte, but that was all the Marlins were able to put together, as they left the winning run on base and lost what could be considered one of their most devastating losses of the season, an 8-7 contest against St.Louis in which they lead by as many as five runs.
Ricky Nolasco received a no decision after pitching well, and the offense struggled to collect one final clutch hit after doing so multiple times early in the game. Miami will try to bounce back against Kyle Lohse, who defeated them on Opening Night, on Tuesday.