You know that fantasy? The one where you saunter into your ten year high school reunion as the CEO of a fortune 500 company, having buffed up and outgrown your acne, with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model hanging on your arm. The fantasy where you basically stick it in the face of the high-school-quarterback-turned-balding-fat-gas-station-attendant who used to throw you in the dumpster every day after school. And where the captain of the cheerleading squad realizes the massive mistake she made the day she laughingly rejected your invitation to the prom. Yeah, that fantasy.
This game was sort of the opposite of that for the Marlins, who were in Atlanta Tuesday night to kick off their first series against the Braves at Turner Field. Their reunion with ousted manager Fredi Gonzalez and 4-year-contract-refuser Dan Uggla didn't exactly go as well as we had hoped.
And by we, I mostly mean Jeff Loria.
Chris Volstad had a bad night on the mound. He went the way of Anibal Sanchez on Sunday, and lasted a mere 4 2/3 innings before Edwin had to go the bullpen. Vols gave up all five of the Braves' runs on eight hits, including two home runs.
And while Chris struggled to keep the ball in the park, the Marlins lineup struggled to solve Tommy Hanson.
Hanson shut out the Fish for seven innings, scattering just four hits and striking out five. It was Hanley Ramirez's first game back since last week's collision with Bill Hall, and he struggled at the plate, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Mike Stanton was 2-for-4 against Hanson, with a double in the third and a single in the fourth. Logan Morrison also doubled to lead off the fifth, and Chris Coghlan was 2-for-4 with a single off of Tommy in the second. Gaby Sanchez didn't get a hit, but he did work two walks in his 0-for-2 night.
That was it for the Marlins' offense. There weren't very many runners in scoring position in the series opener, but when there were, the lineup struggled once again, going 0-for-9, and being shut out for the first time this season.
Back to Volstad's crummy outing. Other than a walk to Chipper Jones in the first, Vols seemed fine through 2 2/3. But with two out in the third, things started to unravel. Martin Prado singled and Nate McClouth doubled him in to put the Braves on the board, and then longtime Marlin-killer Chipper Jones drove in McClouth to give Atlanta a two-run advantage.
In the fourth, Jason Heyward's solo shot put the Braves up 3-0, and the Braves added a couple more in the fifth. Prado doubled to lead off the inning, and after McClouth bunted him over to third, Chipper Jones drove him in with a sac fly. Brian McCann added a solo home run of his own, to make it 5-0 and end Chris's outing.
The Marlins bullpen took over with two outs in the fifth, and impressed once again (though one has to wonder how impressive they'll continue to be if our starters keep leaving so early in games). Brian Sanches tossed 2 1/3 hitless innings, and Edward Mujica gave up one hit in a scoreless eighth.
Despite the bullpen's nice showing, though, the Marlins bats couldn't stage a big comeback this time, and for the first time this season, the Fish lost the opening game of a series.
At least Uggla didn't go deep. The only thing that could have made this game worse would have been that awkward pause when Rich and Tommy bit their tongues to prevent "his name is Dan Uggla" from popping out.