Results tagged ‘ Leo Nunez ’

And the Fish take the Series…

GameFish is now a regular blogger for FishStripes.com. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Marlins season there.

___________________________________________________________________________

Behind great starting pitching, perfect innings from the bullpen, a couple of great defensive plays from Coghlan, and Dan Uggla‘s bat, theMarlins took the rubber match of the series Sunday at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Cole Hamels had a great afternoon on the mound. He went 8 1/3 innings for the Phillies and allowed just two runs on eight hits, and struck out seven.

Dan Uggla was the only Fish that gave Hamels trouble, as he hit a solo homer in the top of the second inning to give the Marlins 1-0 lead.

And a 1-0 lead was all Nate Robertson would need.

After his last start for the Marlins left a lot to be desired, Nate tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings against the Phillies. He gave up only four hits to the their loaded lineup, and pitched his way out of trouble a few times to turn over a 1-0 lead to the bullpen.

Nate ran into trouble in the bottom of the second when he walked three to load the bases. With two out, Cole Hamels came to bat and hit a long fly ball to left field, and Chris Coghlan–already banged up from a previous defensive gem–ran into the wall to make a great catch to end the inning.

Robertson got the first out of the seventh, but with two on, the Hopper was called on to record the last two outs of the inning. Hop got Polanco and Utley to fly out to right field to end the threat, and with the help of a second great defensive play from Coghlan, the Hopper pitched a perfect eighth inning. 

Uggla added an insurance run off of Hamels in the ninth when he doubled in Cantu to make it 2-0, and Leo Nunez closed the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to log his third save of the season.

The Marlins took the series from the reigning National League champions, and end the series in Philadelphia 8-5, having won two games of each of the four series they’ve played so far this season.

Behind Robertson, Hopper, Fish Take the Citi

GameFish is now blogging regularly for FishStripes. Read her game recaps and thoughts on the 2010 Marlins season there.
___________________________________________________________________________

The Marlins were going for the series win against the Mets Thursday night at Citi Field, and after two straight games of ugly, fans were hoping for a nice, neat, disaster-free win. You know, one that didn’t induce massive strokes and brain hemorrhages and stuff. 

It was a battle of lefties as Nate Robertson made the start vs. Jon Niese, and Robertson had a decent night in his season debut for the Marlins. He went five innings and allowed just one run on an RBI double to Jeff Francoeur in the fourth. Nate threw 94 pitches and gave up six hits, struck out four and didn’t issue a walk. 
Neise lasted six innings against the Marlins, and gave up three runs on eight hits. The Fish grabbed an early lead in the first on an RBI single from Dan Uggla, and RBI doubles by Jorge Cantu and Gaby Sanchez in the fifth and sixth gave the Marlins a 3-1 lead. 
Once Nate’s night was over, heartrates state-wide skyrocketed as it was time to go to the bullpen. Wednesday’s implosion was still fresh in the minds of Fish fans, and this time the pen had just a 2-run lead to work with, as opposed to the six-run lead the pen blew the night before. 
Mommy. Hold me. 
Luckily, it was Burke Badenhop who got the call. The Hopper decided to go against the recent trend of Marlins middle relievers, and so, rather than walking multiple guys and blowing the lead, Hop tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Robertson. He allowed just one hit and struck out two. 
If Fredi had put it to a vote, the majority of Fish fans would probably have been in favor of letting Burke attempt a 4-inning save. But instead, though he tossed 40 pitches in Wednesday’s fiasco, Leo Nunez came out to pitch the ninth. (Insert lame comment about getting back on the horse or whatever here.) 
Leo must have been inspired by The Hopper’s three scoreless innings, because he made quick work of things, recording the save with a 1-2-3 inning. 
I’m not sure how the post-game pep talk went on Wednesday night, but whatever it was, it worked. Because after issuing nine free passes in Wednesday’s game, the Marlins pitchers didn’t allow a single base on balls in the series finale. 
The Fish have taken their first series of 2010, and are headed home.
Marlins 3, Mets 1

Fish <3 Fox Saturday

150758_phillies_marlins_baseball.jpgOn the very last Saturday afternoon of the regular season, Fox finally decided to grace us with a game that featured the Marlins. Boy, the national exposure couldn’t have come at a better time…you know, after the Phillies clinched the NL East, and after the Marlins had been eliminated from the Wild Card. 

But we won’t complain too much, because a Fox Saturday game appears to be just what Hanley Ramirez needed to emerge from his recent slump. Come on, we all know what a fan Hanley is of the big stage, and after getting Friday night off, he wasted no time busting out of his 0-for-11 skid on national TV.  
In his first at bat, Ramirez doubled off of Cole Hamels to drive in Coghlan, stole third, and then scored on a sac fly from Jorge Cantu. The sacrifice was Cantu’s his 100th RBI of the season, and put the Marlins up 2-0. 
Unfortunately for Hanley and Cantu, they wouldn’t last the game. In the fourth inning Hanley left with a knee contusion, and Cantu followed shortly after with a sprained ankle. Hanley is questionable for the series finale, but Cantu’s season ended when he was doubled off in the sixth.
Anibal Sanchez also seemed to be a fan of the national exposure. Or maybe he just wanted to keep up the Jekyl and Hyde routine he’s had going of late. Whichever is the case, Sanchez put in a strong performance against the Phillies. And unlike his 8-walk start earlier in the week, he was actually able to locate the strike zone Saturday. Sanchy went seven innings, and allowed only one run on five hits and two walks. The one run he gave up was naturally another *yawn* Ryan Howard home run– his 45th of the season.   
In the second inning the Fish scored a third run off of Hamels on an RBI double by [NL ROY] Chris Coghlan. Three innings and 47 pitches were all the Phillies allowed Hamels, who was pulled after giving up three runs on three hits and two walks.
The Marlins added what would prove to be a very valuable insurance run in the eighth on an RBI double by Uggla. And it was nice of Dan to drive in the extra run, because he was a big part of the reason the Fish ended up needing it. Uggla’s throwing error in the bottom of the eighth allowed Ryan Howard to reach base before Brian Sanches gave up a home run to Jayson Werth that brought the Phillies within a run. 
Brad Lidge was surprisingly not in the mood to give up any runs in the ninth, so it was up to Leo Nunez to save the game with just a one-run lead. With the help of a nice defensive play from Uggla (which partially redeemed him for his costly eighth inning error) Leo handled the Phillies one-two-three for his 26th save of the season. 
With their fourth win in a row, the Marlins improved to 13 games over .500 and took over sole possession of second place in the NL East. The win also made Fredi Gonzalez the winningest manager in Fish history. 

Ask and you shall receive…

008101209_marlins_.JPGHLD&S would like to think that all the drama in Wednesday’s Marlins-Braves series finale was a response to Monday’s lament about making the last few games of the season a bit more thrilling than watching paint dry. But whether or not that was the case, the rubber match at Turner Field was one exciting game to witness. 

Despite the bats showing up for the second night in a row, the real show Wednesday was Ricky Nolasco. In his final start of 2009, Ricky pitched like a man possessed, striking out batter after batter after batter. 
At one point, Nolasco struck out the side in three consecutive innings (third, fourth and fifth), becoming just the fourth pitcher in history to do so. The nine straight K’s were also one short of the Major League record.   
Against Javier Vazquez, the Marlins provided some run support for the dealing Nolasco, and scored three times in the second inning. Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla both hit RBI singles, and a wild pitch scored a run to give the Fish a 3-0 lead. Ross Gload went deep off of Vazquez in the fifth, hitting a two-run shot to put the Marlins up 5-0. 
The Braves finally got on the board against Ricky with two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh. With two out, Garret Anderson singled and Yunel Escobar reached on an error by Hanley. Adam LaRoche drove in both runs with an RBI single, and erased the shutout of Atlanta. 
Ricky recorded his sixteenth strikeout of the game in the eight inning, and his night was done after 7 2/3 innings and 123 pitches. Ricky gave up four hits, two unearned runs, and recorded a career high 16 strikeouts in the start. The K-fest set a franchise record for most strikeouts in a game, and Ricky also plowed through his career high for strikeouts in a season, ending 2009 with 195.
As if Ricky’s display wasn’t excitement enough, the Marlins generously gave us a nail-biter of a ninth inning, where–to quote Nolasco in the understatement of the week–”it got a little interesting.” 
Leo Nunez walked Brian McCann to lead off the bottom of the ninth, a botched double play and error by Jorge Cantu advanced McCann to third base, and Yunel Escobar singled to drive in the run. With one out, Wes Helms committed the second error of the inning on a throw to first that ended up in the dirt and allowed Matt Diaz to reach. Omar Infante added a pinch hit RBI single to bring the Braves within a run.    
After the performance of a lifetime, Ricky Nolasco was getting dangerously close to a no-decision. Leo walked Nate McClouth to load the bases, and the call to the bullpen brought out veteran Brendan Donnelly. 
Donnelly’s very first pitch in the game got by Ronny Paulino, and Matt Diaz started for home. He retreated as Paulino got to the ball, but couldn’t get back to third before the catcher picked him off for the final out of the game.
With that out, Donnelly got his second save for the Fish, and Ricky Nolasco won his 13th game of the season.
While HLD&S is appreciative of the Marlins attempts at entertaining us in the last few days of 2009, we could do without the cardiac arrest. And seeing as all four of Atlanta’s runs were unearned, we could also do without the sloppy defense.
But now we’re just nit-picking.
Though it’s true that nothing can compare to the feeling of one’s own team making it to the post-season, essentially taking the chance away from a division rival is kinda fun too.

The Scoreless Streak Ends! But, Um, So Do Our Post-Season Hopes.

bats alive.jpgIt took a starting pitcher to end the Marlins’ streak of scoreless innings at 22, but the bats finally came out of hibernation Tuesday night at Turner Field.  

In the second inning Josh Johnson said, “enough of this scoreless business,” and did what the Fish have struggled to do the last few games: he hit with a runner in scoring position. (!) 
Johnson drove in his 10th run of the season, doubling off of Braves starter Tim Hudson, and opened the proverbial floodgates for the Marlins. Dan Uggla, who also doubled and scored a run in the second, followed with a solo shot in the fourth inning, and Cameron Maybin added a 2-run homer in the fifth to give the Marlins a 4-1 lead. (OK, so the floodgates were more cracked slightly than fully opened. But we’ll take it.)
Still not 100% recovered from the flu, Josh worked five solid innings for the Fish. He had to work his way out of some trouble, but JJ allowed just one run on three hits to the Braves, and struck out five. With the start, JJ also surpassed 200 innings pitched for the first time in his career, and left the game with a 4-1 lead, in line for the win.
In the bottom of the sixth, Brian Sanches erased the decision for Josh when he gave up a three-run shot to Matt Diaz that tied up the game.  
The good news is that Jorge Cantu decided to continue the all-new trend of driving in runs rather than leaving them on base, and reclaimed the lead for the Marlins in the seventh when he hit an RBI single to score [the clear choice for NL Rookie of the Year] Chris Coghlan. Cogs was 3-for-4 in the game with a pair of doubles, a pair of runs, and his 46th hit in the month of September, which established a new team record. 
Leo Nunez capped off the game with his 25th save of the season, and the Marlins took game two of the series. 
And now for the bad news. The Rockies declined to be of any help to the Fish, and selfishly came back to win their game against the Brewers in extra innings, thus eliminating the Marlins from Wild Card contention.

That Blew. In More Ways Than One.

blow nose.JPGFish fans had boxes of tissue at the ready as the Marlins kicked off their final (sniffle) home series against the Mets Friday night at Land Shark Stadium.  

Little did we know we’d need said tissues for more than just saying goodbye to the 2009 season.
Rick Nolasco was on the mound for the Marlins, and if you erased the second inning of the game, he was outstanding. Ricky’s only spot of trouble came in the second when he gave up three hits, including a three-run homer to Jeff Francoeur to put the Mets up 3-0. 
Ricky bounced back, and lasted seven innings against the Mets, allowing no runs and just one more hit after the second inning.

In the meantime, the Fish had base runners in every inning, but they couldn’t put anything together against Mets starter Tim Redding until the bottom of the fifth. With two men on, Hanley tied up the game with one swing of his bat, a three-run jack to make it a 3-3 ball game. 

Gaby Sanchez pinch hit for Ricky in the bottom of the seventh and drew a walk off of Redding. After a call to the bullpen, Pedro Feliciano threw a wild pitch to advance pinch runner Bonifacio to second, And Feliciano intentionally walked Hanley. With two out, Jorge Cantu doubled to drive in Bonifacio and Hanley, and put the Marlins up 5-3.
Brendan Donelly pitched the eighth inning for the Marlins, and some sloppy defense got Brendan and the Fish into trouble. Brian Schneider reached on an error by Dan Uggla, Angel Pagan singled, and Luis Castillo hit a sac bunt to advance the runners to second and third for David Wright. Donnelly struck out Wright, but a passed ball by Ronny Paulino allowed Schneider to score, and the Mets pulled within a run. 

After a rather exciting game for Fish fans, the top of the ninth inning was a real pleasure to witness. Leo Nunez came in and gave up two straight singles to Murphy and Francoeur to open the inning, walked Jeremy Reed on four pitches, and blew the save when Cory Sullivan singled to drive in two runs and put the Mets in the lead. 
Nunez struck out David Wright to end the top of the inning, but the damage was done. And unlike Wednesday, this time there was no walk-off magic to speak of. 
Ross Gload had a pinch hit single, but that was all Francisco Rodriguez allowed in the bottom of the ninth. Rodriguez closed the door and the Fish dropped game one of their final home series in heartbreaking fashion. 
Please pass the Kleenex.
6-5, Mets

Double Dip

3500560729_8bd39e168f.jpgThe Marlins treated us to twice the recommended daily allowance of baseball Tuesday as they faced off with the Phillies in a doubleheader at Land Shark Stadium.

Game one featured Marlins ace Josh Johnson on the hill for the Fish, and JJ impressed by striking out ten Philthies through five innings of work. But Josh also gave up four runs on seven hits in those five innings, and since the Fish bats were about as hot in game one as a glacier in Antarctica, that was bad news for the Marlins. 
Part of the problem for the Fish was Joe Blanton, who shut down the Marlins offense through seven innings, striking out nine and allowing only two hits. 
Burke Badenhop tossed two scoreless innings in relief of JJ, but in the eighth he got into some trouble and allowed four runs to the Phils. Andrew Miller recorded the last out of the eighth, but not before demonstrated his dominant pitching skills by walking three and giving up a ninth run to Philadelphia.
The Marlins did finally get on the board against Sergio Escalona in the bottom of the inning, but by then the deficit was a bit much to overcome, and the Marlins dropped game one of the series.
*deep breath*
Anibal Sanchez was on the mound for the Fish in game two of the doubleheader, and recalled the days of yore (come on, 2006 can totally be considered “yore”) with his lights out pitching. Ani allowed just two hits to the Phillies in eight innings, and struck out seven.
While Sanchy was busy shutting down the Phils, the Marlins were busy trying to hit the snail-speed pitches of Grandfather Time, aka Jamie Moyer. Moyer went seven innings for Philadelphia and allowed nine hits to the Marlins. 
In the bottom of the second, Uggla hit his 30th home run of the year, becoming the first Marlin to hit 30 home runs in three consecutive seasons. Cody went yard in the fourth to put the Marlins up 2-0, and in the fifth Hanley doubled to drive in the third and final run of the game.
Leo Nunez handled his 24th save with a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Marlins split the doubleheader.

Consider the Curse Reversed

Man_Jump_for_Joy.jpgAnother pitchers duel was in order for the Marlins and Reds as they faced off in game two of their series Friday night at the Great American Ball Park. 

Rick VandenHurk was on the Hill for the Marlins, and had a great night as he allowed just one run on four hits in six strong innings of work. It was too bad for Vandy that Homer Bailey went one better and tossed seven scoreless innings, and allowed just three hits to the Fish, taking away Hurk’s chance at the W. 

Sigh. 
One measly run was all the offense to speak of until the eighth inning, when the Reds scored an insurance run off of Brendan Donnelly. With closer Francisco Cordero coming in to pitch the ninth, it seemed that the Marlins would go quietly for their tenth loss in a row at the Great American Ball Park. 
Only they didn’t. 

The Fish rallied in the ninth. Coghlan led off the inning by reaching base on what was ruled an error, but was actually a base hit (we promise). Hanley Ramirez singled with one out, and Jorge Cantu drove in Coghlan to put the Fish on the board. Dan Uggla’s ground out scored Hanley, and Baker blooped a single into left to score Cantu and give the Fish the lead. After a single from Cody Ross, Jared Burton came out of the bullpen to replace Cordero.

Burton promptly gave up an RBI double to Brett Carroll, and the Marlins took a 4-2 lead. 

It was up to Leo Nunez (gulp) to shut down the Reds in the bottom half of the ninth, and given Leo’s affinity for the home run, and considering the tiny confines of the GABP, that was no small task. 
Naturally, Nunez gave up a long ball to pinch hitter Juan Francisco to lead off the bottom of the ninth and to put the Reds within a run. But that was all for the Reds, and Leo struck out two and closed it out for his 23rd save of the season. 
Brett Carroll’s RBI double ended up being the difference in the game, and for the first time since 2006, the Fish won a game in Cincinnati

Join us in a Victory dance, won’t you??!! 

The Fish Take the Series

Josh+johnson.jpgIt was a cursed day game Wednesday at Busch Stadium, and so HLD&S will base this recap off of the cartoon images on MLB’s GameDay, which South Florida fans were reduced to sneaking peeks at while their boss wasn’t looking… Consider yourself forewarned. 

Josh Johnson was not in top form as he took the mound, but as a true ace, all that meant was that he gave up nine hits in his six innings, most of which did not result in any runs for the Cardinals. JJ pitched out of trouble a few times and held the Cards scoreless until the sixth inning when Julio Lugo drove in St. Louis’s lone run of the game. JJ threw 100 pitches to get through six innings, and the bullpen took over from there.
The Marlins jumped on Joel Pineiro for three runs in the first inning, and played some small ball for a change rather than relying on the home run as they had in Tuesday’s contest. Of their twelve hits in the game, eleven were singles. Five of those singles were hit in the first when the Marlins loaded the bases on consecutive hits. After Dan Uggla lined out to score a run, John Baker and Cody Ross each added RBI singles to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead. 
In the second, Josh Johnson helped his own cause when he singled and scored on a sac fly by Jorge Cantu, and Cody Ross added another RBI hit in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and put the Marlins up 5-1. 

The Fish pen handled the seventh and eighth innings with little trouble, but made up for that when Brian Sanches came in to pitch the ninth. Sanches recorded an out, and then the inning got a little dicey. Or a lot dicey. Mark DeRosa doubled, and with runners at second and third, it was Leo Nunez who got the call from the bullpen to come in and try to save it. 

It seems Leo wasn’t thrilled that his afternoon nap had been interrupted by Sanches getting into a bit of trouble, because he promptly hit the first two batters he faced, one of whom was Albert Pujols. The two HBP forced in a run and brought the Cardinals within three. But with Matt Holliday up and the bases still loaded, Nunez induced a ground ball, and a double play that ended the inning. 
Less dramatic endings to games are always preferable, but nonetheless, Leo logged his 22nd save of the season, JJ his 15th win, and the Marlins took the series from the Cardinals. 

W O W (West Outduels Wainwright)

duel.JPG

The Marlins had the special privilege of facing Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright as they took on the Cardinals Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. 
With Sean West on the mound, I’ll be honest and admit that HLD&S mentally prepared a recap of the loss in advance. It went something along the lines of: The Marlins were no-hit last night, while rookie Sean West was brutally slaughtered by Pujols, et. al. Our season is over. Go watch football.
It would seem that we despaired a bit too soon, though.  
While Wainwright was, well, Wainwright Tuesday night, Sean West was apparently not in the mood to be outdonedueled. Not even by a pitcher who had three times as many wins as West on the season. 
The two pitchers traded scoreless innings back and forth until the bottom of the fifth, when two singles and a walk got Sean into a bases-loaded jam. With one out and Albert Pujols up, Fish fans muttered multiple expletives as they imagined the worst outcome was mere moments away, and resigned themselves to the fact that the Marlins were going to have to score at least five runs off of Wainwright and the Cardinals bullpen if they were to have any hope of winning the game. 
But Sean West simply ignored the eruption of the crowd, laughed in the face of imminent failure and limited the damage in the inning to just one run. Pujols hit a sac fly to left field that scored the first run of the game and gave St. Louis the lead, and West struck out Holliday to end the threat.
The Fish may have been spurred on by the adrenaline rush of such a close call in the bottom of the fifth, because they finally got on the board in the sixth inning. Nick Johnson singled off of Wainwright, and Dan Uggla jacked his 29th home run of the season to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead over the Cardinals. 

Sean West lasted through the sixth inning before he was lifted. The lefty gave up just one run on six hits in his six innings of work, and struck out a career-high nine Cardinals in the process. Wainwright went on to complete the seventh inning, and finished the night having allowed seven hits and two runs, while striking out eight.

Protecting a very fragile one-run lead against a potent lineup, the Marlins went to the bullpen. The ‘pen must have been sprinkled with some of Sean’s magic dust, as they gave up just one hit to St. Louis in three innings. Nunez struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to earn his 21st save, and to preserve Sean West’s seventh win of the season. 
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of the miraculous, the Rockies lost, moving the Fish to within 4 1/2 games of the Wild Card lead.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.