Edinson Volquez faced off against Cardinals starter Mike Leake on Wednesday night in St. Louis in the third game of a four game set. Mike Leake starting usually means the opponents bats are going to be rather quiet. Not so tonight.
Leake entered the game having given up the fewest home runs/9 amongst NL starters (ironically tied with Fish starter Edinson Volquez). The Marlins were not impressed. Giancarlo Stanton hit his first home run of the night in the first inning to put the Marlins up 1-0.
Then, Miami added two more dingers in the second inning. After Edinson Volquez hit a sacrifice fly to score Derek Deitrich, Giancarlo hit a three run bomb to left center to score J.T. Riddle and Dee Gordon. This catapulted the Marlins ahead 5-0, while giving Stanton his 23rd home run, the most on the club.
Stanton’s home run supremacy would not last long, as Marcel Ozuna came up next inning and got his 23rd home run of the season with his own shot to left field to give the Marlins a commanding 7-0 lead in the third inning.
However, Volquez was unable to settle in and cruise to an easy victory. St. Louis got three runs back in the bottom of the third, with a rally keyed by a double by Tommy Pham and a single by Stephen Piscotty.
A double by Marlins All-Star starter Marcel Ozuna scored Dee Gordon to put the Fish up 8-3 in the fourth, but the feisty Cardinals came back with a run in the bottom half to cut the lead back to four.
At this point, yes, the Marlins had a four run lead, but things were feeling shaky. Volquez was pulled after the fourth inning due to increasingly diminished returns in his 65 pitch effort; having given up 4 runs on 6 hits while walking 2 and fanning only 1 batter.
That short start also allowed the Cardinals to face the soft underbelly of the Marlins already flabby bullpen. They took advantage of less than stellar outings by Dustin McGowan and Jarlin Garcia. Garcia gave up two walks and a hit before giving way to Drew Streckenrider, who promptly allowed a two-run double on a hard ground ball to right field by the Caridinals center fielder, Tommy Pham. This would bring the Cardinals to within two runs, 8-6.
By now, people were scrambling to think of the biggest lead that the Marlins blew this season (6), while also bringing back bad memories of the Marlins blowing a 13-4 lead to the Rockies on July 4th of 2008 to lose 18-17.
However, when the back end of the Marlins bullpen took over, things would settle down. Phelps, Barraclough and Ramos each threw shutout innings to hold the Redbirds at bay, and secure a 9-6 win. Ramos would record his 15th save of the season, and his second in as many nights.
Justin Bour punched a hole in the Cardinals pen, with a solo blast in the ninth inning. With a day game tomorrow, with Tom Koehler toeing the rubber for the Marlins, the fact that the Marlins had to burn through six relievers in what looked like a run away may come back to haunt them soon. At least the All-Star break is coming soon, so we know the Marlins pen will get a break then, if not tomorrow.
The matchup on Thursday will be Tom Koehler versus Michael Wacha. Game time is 1:45 pm EDT.
- Dustin McGowan got credited with the win, giving him a 5-0 record on the season.
- This was Mike Leake’s worst outing of the year; it was his shortest at 3 2⁄3 innings, and he gave up 8 runs, the most he has all season.
- Giancarlo Stanton still hasn’t hit three homers in a game, though one has to imagine that day will come.
Turning Point(s): Two dingers for Stanton
King Fish: see above
Flounder: Volquez for not making it into the fifth inning despite good run support.