Whether it was the fault of his newfound title or not, “the Dragon” was slayed Saturday night in game two of the Marlins-Cubs series at Land Shark Stadium.
Hopper lasted just 1 2/3 innings and gave up six runs–5 earned–and walked four. But Badenhop’s rough start merely scratched the surface of the insanity this game had to offer. We pretty much saw it all in Saturday night’s ten-inning affair, and a good deal of it made us wish that the flashy red memory eraser thingy in the Men In Black movies was actually real and available for over-the-counter purchase.
The Marlins had plenty of time to dig themselves out of the hole they were in after Badenhop struggled, and dig they did. Carlos Zambrano worked three innings and hit our all-star shortstop on the knee with a pitch before he left the game due to stiffness in his back. The Marlins scored once in the second, third and fourth innings and put two runs on the board in the fifth, and Brian Sanches, Kiko Calero and Luis Ayala held the Cubbies scoreless through the sixth inning.
Renyel Pinto managed to work out of trouble in the seventh, but he couldn’t hold the score in the eighth, so the Fish trailed the Cubs 8-5 as they faced former Marlins closer Kevin Gregg.
Although it seemed too much to hope that Kevin would pitch for the Cubs in the ninth the way he pitched so often for the Marlins in 2008, Gregg came through for the Fish. With two outs, Ronny Paulino hit his first career pinch-hit home run to bring the Marlins within two runs. Chris Coghlan and Nick Johnson followed with singles, and then the collective jaws of South Florida dropped to the ground as Emilio Bonifacio–playing for the injured Hanley Ramirez–tripled to tie up the score.
The tie was short-lived, unfortunately, and in the top of the tenth, Leo Nunez gave up a solo shot to former Marlin/current Marlin killer Derrek Lee, who was 4 for 6 on the night, and won it for the Cubs in extras.
Call the game exciting if you want, but whatever excitement the Marlins created for fans by “battling back,” they more than made up for with their abysmal defense and myriad men left on base.
I guess when Dan Uggla snapped the Marlins error-free game streak Friday night, the Fish didn’t make any immediate plans to start a new one. Maybe they wanted to make up for lost time. Whatever the case, the Fish committed three errors, two of which were Jorge Cantu’s as he struggled in his first start at third base this season.
Unearned runs obviously didn’t help the Marlins cause, and neither did the 14 runners the team stranded. On more than one occasion the Marlins left the bases loaded, and the Fish squandered chance after chance to take the lead from the Cubs.
Some good news in the middle of the giant mess of Super Saturday was Nick Johnson. The Marlins newly acquired first baseman was everything fans were hoping he would be in his debut as a Fish. Johnson was on base five times, going two for three with two walks, a run and an RBI.
Overall, this game pretty much sucked real bad.