Six solid innings from Volstad. Another RBI-ridden night for Jorge Cantu. The emergence of Chris Coghlan's bat from its hibernation. What do these things add up to? Um, that would be another series-opening loss for the Fish.
It is official. The Florida Marlins are incapable of winning the first game of a series. Ask the Mets. Dodgers. Reds. Phillies. And don't forget the Houston Astros, who are the most recent recipients of Florida's Game One Curse.
Tuesday night at Minute Maid park, the Marlins started strong against Brett Myers, scoring twice on four straight singles to open up the game. Houston answered right back in the bottom of the inning, when Chris Volstad's first order of business was to issue a lead-off walk to Michael Born. Bad idea. Vols didn't allow a hit in the inning, but Bourn used his speed to steal second and third, and scored on a groundout to cut the Marlins lead in half.
In the second inning, the windows of heaven opened, and Fish fans could hear the trumpets sounding as Chris Coghlan got his second hit of the game, an RBI single to score Wes Helms, and possibly signify the end of Chris's early season slump. (pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease)
The Astros were unaffected by the heavenly hosts, however, and once again answered back in the bottom of the second when Hunter Pence singled and scored to make it 3-2.
Volstad and Myers tossed three scoreless innings after the second, but traded runs once again in the sixth. Jorge Cantu had already extended his hitting streak to 18 games when he singled in the first, but he added to his rapidly-accumulating pile of RBI (now 18) with a solo shot to put the Marlins up 4-2.
In the bottom of the inning, Houston got their run back on a single from J.R. Towles, which scored Carlos Lee, who had doubled.
With Volstad's night over after six innings, Tim Wood got the call from the bullpen. Woody gave up a run in the seventh, but was brought back out to pitch the eighth, and try to hold the Marlins one-run lead.
Only he didn't. Instead, Tim issued a leadoff double to Hunter Pence, who scored on a sacrifice bunt by Kaz Matsui. Then Wood delivered the nail in the Marlins game one coffin when he served up a 2-run blast to Jason Michaels to give Houston the lead.
The Marlins weren't quite ready to admit defeat in the ninth. Because as all 2009 opponents of the Fish can attest, the game is never quite over when Matt Lindstrom is on the mound to try and record the last three outs. But Matty wasn't feeling very generous, and he decided not to pitch to the Marlins like he did for them so many times last season.
Matt threw a wild pitch that put John Baker in scoring position for Wes Helms, who drove him in with a single to left field, but that's where the rally ended. Matt closed out the game, and as is their 2010 custom, the Marlins dropped game one of their series to the Astros.
And the Game One Curse continues.