It was Camp Day at the ball park Thursday afternoon as the Marlins wrapped up their four-game series with the Rockies, and the Fish put on quite a show for the kids. It was the least they could do, seeing how the youngsters were willingly subjecting themselves to heat strokes and the possibility of death to watch the game.
Josh Johnson made the start for Florida, and was solid as usual through 6.1 innings. He allowed just one run on five hits, and struck out 11 Rockies.
Jorge De La Rosa was no slouch himself, but the Fish got on the board against him in the first when Chris Coghlan worked a walk, and Gaby Sanchez drove him in with an RBI double to center field to put the Marlins up 1-0.
In the top of the second, the Marlins ace didn't look quite as invincible as usual, which could be attributed to the fact that it was hotter than the seventh circle of hell at Sun Life Stadium. JJ's 16-inning scoreless streak ended when he gave up his 5th home run of the season to Ian Stewart to tie up the game. He followed the long ball by walking Ryan Spilborghs in very un-JJ-like fashion, but struck out Olivo and Barmes to get out of the inning.
Cody Ross wasn't a big fan of losing the lead to the Rockies, so he took it upon himself to get it back in the bottom of the inning. Cody hit a solo shot to left, and put the Fish back on top, 2-1.
Josh dominated the Rockies after the second inning, but ran into some trouble in the seventh. He gave up a double to Spilborghs and a single to Miguel Olivo to put runners at the corners with one out, and with JJ's pitch count at 120, Jose Veras was called on to get him out of trouble. Veras did just that, striking out Clint Barmes and catching a Seth Smith liner back to the mound to end the inning and preserve the Marlins' lead.
The lead, however, would not be contained. Especially seeing as it was a Josh Johnson start, and therefore the "don't-score-any-runs-and/or-be-sure-to-give-up-the-lead-if-Josh-is-in-line-for-the-win" rule was in effect. Clay Hensley came on in the top of the eighth and promptly gave up a double to Jonathan Herrera, who scored on a Jason Giambi single to tie up the game 2-2. (We would later realize that K-lay was not so much blowing the hold as he was setting up the walk-off opportunity. Very thoughtful of you, Clay.)
In the bottom of the eighth, Chris Coghlan led off with a single, but the Marlins couldn't bring him home. Donnie Murphy and Gaby Sanchez struck out, and Uggla flied out to end the inning. Again, rather than berating the Fish for their hideous situational hitting, we would later applaud them for choosing to wait until the ninth inning to hit, when scoring would be 88.3% more dramatic.
Leo Nunez held the score in the top of the ninth by striking out the side, and it was time for the Marlins to take care of business against Jhoulys Chacin in the bottom of the inning.
Although Hanley was available to pinch hit, it was Emilio Bonifacio that Chacin had to face to lead off the ninth, and Boni tripled on a fly ball to center field. Chacin then intentionally walked Cody Ross (much to the chagrin of the Camp Day kids) and put Mike Stanton on base as well, to load up the bases with nobody out.
Sadly for the Rockies, there was no base left on which to put Ronny Paulino. The Rockies' gamble did not pay off, as Ronny hit a line-drive base hit to score Bonifaco, and deliver the Marlins their second walk-off win of the series.
And the Camp Day crowd goes wild.
Well lookie there. The Fish have taken three out of four from the Rockies, and are 5-2 since the All-Star break.