Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Marlins' rally is short-lived in stunner

By Anthony Fenech / | 06/01/11

PHOENIX -- Halfway through the finale of an nine-game West Coast swing, the Marlins were looking forward to a sweet plane ride back.

But four unanswered Arizona runs and one Justin Upton broken-bat, bloop single later and the Marlins were heading home on a sour note after a 6-5 walk-off loss at Chase Field on Wednesday night.

"It was a tough one," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "Because we played a good game against a very good team."

With the loss, the Marlins still managed a winning road trip, with a record of 5-4 and without ace pitcher Josh Johnson and a healthy Hanley Ramirez at shortstop.

"We started out the road trip real strong," Marlins catcher John Buck said. "We played a couple of flat games, but I don't think we'll really hold our heads down too much after today's game.

"Minus those two games, I think we had a pretty good road trip. But obviously, we'd rather go home winning two series rather than one."

Upton's opposite-field single off reliever Burke Badenhop in the bottom of the ninth scored Willie Bloomquist and took closer J.J. Putz off the hook from blowing his first save of the season.

"I'm disappointed for today's game," Rodriguez said. "I thought we had control of the game, Javy [Vazquez] had control of the game, they made adjustments and you just have to tip your hat to a very good team."

In the top of the ninth, Putz allowed a leadoff home run to Buck to tie the game, 5-5.

The game took a turn with the Marlins ahead, 4-0, in the sixth, on D-backs third baseman Ryan Roberts' two-run home run to left field that cut the lead in half.

"That home run was clutch," Rodriguez said. "It got them back into the game."

The home run was the first bump in the road for Vazquez, who cruised through five innings of two-hit baseball to start the game.

"Everything was working," Vazquez said. "I was being aggressive and mixing it up."

After the Roberts home run, Kelly Johnson tripled and scored on a groundout from Upton. Vazquez escaped the inning but was lifted after a leadoff double by Chris Young in the seventh.

He allowed four runs on six hits, striking out five and walking one.

"I thought I pitched well," Vazquez said. "Just a few mistakes here and there, but I feel good with the way I'm throwing it right now."

Vazquez was relieved by left-handed veteran Randy Choate, who hit a batter and intentionally walked another to load the bases before being relieved by Edward Mujica.

With the bases loaded, Mujica induced a high chopper down the third-base line from pinch-hitter Xavier Nady. Anticipating a double play, Marlins third baseman Greg Dobbs jumped for the ball and came down with his foot on the bag but without the ball, which had skipped off his glove.

"I think he will say yeah, he should have made the play," Rodriguez said. "He was thinking of stepping on the bag and then throwing and that's when he missed the ball."

Young scored from the third to tie the game and the D-backs took the lead an inning later on his second double of the game, scoring Stephen Drew.

Buck tied the game with his sixth home run of the season, a solo shot to right field off Putz in a one-strike count.

With Clay Hensley pitching in the home half of the ninth, Bloomquist singled before the right-hander struck out Sean Burroughs and promptly left with an injury.

After his changeup was swung through, Hensley winced, clutched his right shoulder and dropping to a crouch before being removed from the game.

"We have to wait and see," Rodriguez said. "But the way it looked, it looks like he's going to be out for a while."

With one out, Badenhop entered the game, induced a groundout to third base from Roberts while Bloomquist advanced two bases to third, before walking Johnson and allowing the game-winning bleeder on a broken bat to Upton a batter later.

"When you give a team like that more chances, it's usually not good for the opposite team," Buck said.

Right fielder Mike Stanton fell a double shy of the franchise's first cycle in the loss. He put the Marlins on the board in the second inning with a two-run home run to left-center, tripled home a run an inning later and singled in the sixth.

Stanton struck out swinging against reliever David Hernandez in the eighth.

"I don't worry about that stuff," he said. "I'm just trying to help the team win, I'm not worried about the cycle when we're tied up."

The Marlins sit two games back of the Phillies in the National League East and return to action at home on Friday against the Brewers.

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