Hero of the Game: Austin Kearns (0.186 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Steve Cishek (-0.313 WPA)
Play of the Game: Luis Valbuena homered in the ninth inning. (-0.419 WPA)
The Miami Marlins stuck close with the Chicago Cubs as expected; after all, both teams are cellar-dwellers in their respective divisions. Kevin Slowey and Edwin Jackson dueled to a stalemate, with Jackson giving up too many baserunners via walks while Slowey struggled with a home run by Nate Schierholz while at the same time striking out a season's best six batters. Both starters gave up three runs in the game, with the opposing offenses doing very little outside of their scoring innings.
Fast forward to the ninth inning, when closer Steve Cishek had a chance to maintain a tied ballgame with two outs. Luis Valbuena hit his fourth home run of the season, a line drive shot that barely got into the visitor's bullpen in right field. The graze shot gave the Cubs the lead and put them in prime position to pick up the first win of the series.
But the Marlins battled back against embattled closer Carlos Marmol. Marmol failed to get a strike in six of his first seven pitches and went to eventual 3-1 counts to the first two hitters faced in the bottom of the ninth inning. Donovan Solano and Austin Kearns got on base with a walk and single respectively, and the Marlins were set with runners on first and second with no one out. At this point, the Fish had an estimated 50.2 percent chance of winning the game.
However, the Marlins collapsed after that. Juan Pierre was (rightfully) bunting on the play, but he failed to bunt properly and laid one out easily for catcher Welington Castillo to field and fire to third base to get the lead runner out. This was followed by a fly ball out by Placido Polanco and, in perhaps the worst of the offenses, a Giancarlo Stanton four-pitch strikeout that had him swinging at two sliders way out of the zone. The Marlins helped to kill their own rally and the Fish lose again, 4-3.
The Marlins will try again tomorrow night. It will be Wade LeBlanc on the mound.