The Marlins rallied late, but Atlanta’s Brian McCann came through with a key three-run homer in the 10th inning to push the Braves past Florida, 6-3, before 14,226 fans at Land Shark Stadium.
McCann drove a 2-2 slider from Luis Ayala into the seats beyond the right-center-field fence. The All-Star catcher had a big day after entering the game 0-for-16 against the Marlins the season. McCann finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs.
Atlanta’s backstop was not the only Braves player to enjoy a big game as starter Javier Vazquez dominated Marlins hitters most of the night. The right-hander tired toward the end of his outing, allowing a leadoff home run to Cody Ross in the eighth inning but still pitched well. Vazquez held Florida to three runs on five hits over 7 1/3 innings while striking out eight.
Ross’ home run in the eighth gave the Marlins momentum as they put together a rally against reliever Mike Gonzalez. With two outs and the bases loaded, Jorge Cantu hit a slow roller to third baseman Chipper Jones that allowed pinch hitter Brett Carroll to score and tie the game at 3.
Florida starter Rick VandenHurk struggled early, giving up two runs in the second on a Casey Kotchman double to center field. The right-hander would settle down the rest of the way, finishing his outing allowing two runs on four hits over six innings while striking out a career-high nine batters.
Not much to say about this one. The opportunities to win were there, they just didn’t seize them, unfortunately. Bases left loaded in the bottom of the 8th in a tie game, and then in the bottom of the 9th, runners on first and second with 1 out and Brett Carroll grounds into the double play. Those hurt.
Gotta give out the Scott Olsen Memorial Mugshot Award, for the single player most responsible for the failings of the ball club on a given night. This is most unfortunate, as thanks to our failings as bloggers during the loss to the Dodgers last weekend, it had been damn near two weeks since the SOMMA had to be given out. I rather liked that streak.
Some might argue Luis Ayala deserves it for giving up the three run bomb to lose it, but he was in a tough spot, with the heart of the Braves order up and nobody available in the pen to save him, so I’ll give him a pass. One might also think Fredi Gonzalez might deserve it for intentionally walking Chipper to get to Brian McCann who hit the home run, but that’s also a tough spot. We’re talking about pitching to Chipper with one on and first open (.968 career OPS vs RHP) or McCann with a potentional DP (.902 career OPS vs RHP) possibility. Can’t fault him for playing the percentages. Just about the only thing I constantly defend Fredi on, even when it doesn’t work out.
No, my choice (Which is all that matters) goes to the man who struck out 3 times and went 0-5 batting in the number two hole.. With runners on first and second, he comes to the plate with 1 out in the bottom of the 8th. Pitcher throws a wild pitch, and the runners advance. If he can just get on base somehow, Hanley will get a chance…
And another strikeout for Emilio Bonifacio, who now ranks 2nd in the race for the lowest OPS in the NL. Don’t stop believin’, Emilio! Marlins’ nation is with you!
Wipe that grin off your face, Boner. You blew it!
At some point, the team will realize Gaby should start a game, right? I mean, I was defending Bonifacio aloud when he had that little month streak where he put together a .730 OPS and looked totally respectable, though outcast as a corner infielder still.
What’s sad is at this point, I’d almost be upset if Bonifacio was demoted or benched. I mean, it’s probably too late. Why make the move now?
Note: I don’t expect him to be demoted at all. We will probably acquire an Arthur Rhodes and that is all.
A poster over at SoFlaMarlins.com probably summed up Emilio Bonifacio as perfectly as anyone ever could, so I’ll close this rant up with that. I didn’t expect this to turn into a Bonifacio rant, but thus is the nature of light night writing, it often veers towards that anyways.
Bonifacio’s like that kid on the little league team who really doesn’t like baseball and would rather play xbox or fill his glove with ants, but his dad’s the coach and his son is going to bat 4th, play short-stop and pitch, and at first everyone was really angry, but then they realized it wasn’t the kids fault he was constantly set up to fail so then everyone just kinda hoped that the kid wouldn’t have to deal with a big moment because everyone but the dad knew how it would turn out and the failure isn’t even met with anger it’s just kinda met with sad silence and everyone is just really uncomfortable with the whole thing.