The Miami Marlins took care of the Philadelphia Phillies in game one of their three-game home series after Giancarlo Stanton hammered a 490-foot two-run bomb in the eighth, but tonight lacked any similar flair for the dramatic, and the Marlins lost to the Phillies 4-3, squandering an opportunity to set a club-record by winning their 12th of their last 13.
Things started out well. Tom Koehler struck out Odubel Herrera and finished his first inning on 13 pitches. Excellent defense by second baseman Chris Johnson highlighted the second and Koehler kept the Phillies hitless for another inning. Marcell Ozuna, who went 2-4 last night and scored a run, opened up the offense in the second with a solo homer into center field, his 6th home run of the season. Johnson continued his stand-out play by unleashing a double into left-center, yet he got stranded when Koehler struck out. Koehler finally surrendered a hit in the third--a double by David Lough--but Jeff Mathis threw Lough out at third when Hellickson tried a bunt and the Marlins maintained their 1-0 lead.
After the Fish went hitless in the third, Koehler showed signs of fatigue to start the fourth. He walked Herrera, then gave up a single to Cesar Hernandez, then nearly hit Maikel Franco before getting him to pop out into center. With Herrera now at third and Hernandez still at first, Ryan Howard sailed one deep enough into left to score Herrera and tie the game.
At 65 pitches to start his fourth inning, Hellickson left his next pitch a little high and Justin Bour crushed it the opposite way, giving back the Marlins their one-run lead. At 52 pitches to start his fifth, Koehler struck out Freddy Galvis and Lough, walked Hellickson when he lost his rhythm, then got ahead in the count and struck out Peter Bourjos.
The Marlins couldn't extend their lead in the bottom of the fifth as Carlos Ruiz legally blocked Dietrich in a collision at home plate, but Koehler struck out two in the top of the sixth to protect the lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Yelich singled and stole second and then captured third on a wild pitch, and Ozuna batted him in, prompting Phillies manager Pete Mackanin to replace Hellickson with Colton Murray. Making just his fourth appearance this season and with his team down 3-1 and runners on both first and second and one out, Murray worked patiently and earned the last two outs.
Koehler's well-managed seventh would be his last inning, and he finished the night on 100 pitches as he fanned a season-high eight batters and allowed one run on two hits.
The eighth inning would doom the Marlins. First, reliever Kyle Barraclough walked Lough and then Blanco doubled deep to right. With one out, Herrera jammed a floater into left off Craig Breslow and Lough scored. Hernandez added a single that scored Blanco and suddenly it's 3-3 and the Fish still have only one out with runners at the corners. Despite Chris Johnson's stellar play on both offense and defense earlier in the game, he blundered playing first when he dropped an easy catch for what would have been a double-play to end the inning. Instead, Herrera scored and the Phillies stole the lead and eventually the game.
Hero of the Game: Tom Koehler. He pitched a great game, and deserved better from his bullpen.