Game two of the Marlins-Reds series at the GAB went slightly better than the series opener. And...uh... that's about the most positive spin I can put on Saturday night's loss to Cincinnati.
The game got underway after a 25-minute rain delay, and the Fish decided that it would be fun to play a game of lets-see-how-many-base-runners-we-can-strand against Reds started Mike Leake. They had runners on every inning, but Leake held them scoreless through four.
While his teammates were busy loadin 'em and leavin 'em, Sean West was making his second start of the season for the Fish. West got into trouble in the third when he gave up a lead-off double to Paul Janish, and then committed an error on Mike Leak's bunt to put runners at the corners with no outs. But Sean just shrugged it off and struck out Phillips, Heisey and Votto swinging to end the inning.
Sadly, Sean's luck ran out in the fourth, when he suddenly lost track of the strike zone. He walked Rolen and Gomes to put two on with nobody out, and after a sac fly by Stubbs moved Rolen to third, Ramon Hernandez singled to drive in the first run of the game. A sac bunt by Janish plated Gomes, and Sean fed a fat pitch to Leake, who singled in a third run for the Reds.
The good news was the Marlins answered back in the top of the fifth. Logan Morrison singled, and Dan Uggla jacked a two-out home run to bring the Fish within a run.
Sean, though, didn't appear to be inspired by the sudden life in the Marlins offense. He walked Heisey on four pitches to open the bottom of the inning, and gave up a single to Votto to again put himself in what would seem to be his favorite situation--having runners at the corners with nobody out. Scott Rolen singled on a line drive to left, scoring Heisey. Votto attempted to score as well, but LoMo got the ball to Hanley, who fired a strike to the plate, and Hayes tagged Votto for the first out of the inning. That was it for Sean West, and the Hopper took over out of the bullpen to finish the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Wes Helms went deep against Leake, hitting a one-out solo shot to left that once again brought the Fish within a run. Then things got a little crazy on the field--and in the Marlins broadcast booth--moments later when Leake hit Brett Hayes with a pitch, but home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called it a foul tip to strike out Hayes... even though Brett didn't swing at the pitch, and the ball didn't even come near the bat. Edwin argued the call while (I can only assume) several FSFL employees physically restrained Tommy Hutton, but it was to no avail. Hector Luna pinch hit and struck out to end the inning. 4-3, Reds.
Jose Veras held the Reds scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, and Arthur Rhodes came out of the bullpen to face the Fish in the top of the seventh. Hanley Ramirez came very close to tying up the game when he hit a fly ball to center that banged off the wall for a double. LoMo followed with a walk to put two on without an out, but Gaby lined into a double play, and Cody Ross was robbed by Stubbs on a line drive to center to end the inning.
The score remained the same until Clay Hensley came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth, and gave up a lead-off home run to Stubbs to make it 5-3. Clay got out of the inning without allowing another run, but the Fish were down to their last three outs with a two-run deficit.
In the top of the ninth, the Fish seemed ready to come to life. Francisco Cordero gave up a lead-off walk to Bonifaco, and Hanley followed with his third hit of the night, a single that put Boni at third. LoMo worked a walk to load up the bases with nobody out, but Gaby Sanchez was up next, and killed the rally by grounding into a double play on the first pitch of the at-bat. Boni scored on the DP, but Uggs finished things off when he popped out to end the game.
The Reds have taken the series. And the curse of the GAB continues.