You know something’s up when Jeremy Hermida is making highlight-worthy catches in right, the Fish are actually getting double-digit hits off of Grandpa Moyer, Shane Victorino is attacking an umpire like a rabid wildebeest and the home crowd is booing the dude that sings God Bless America… OK, so that last one is pretty much a normal day at the park for Phils fans. But overall, it was a strange, strange afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park Sunday as the Marlins went for the sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies.
When Jamie [Freaking] Moyer is on the mound against Florida, it normally signifies nap time for the folks at home. I mean, do we really need to see the Marlins get blanked through seven innings? But something magical happened Sunday afternoon: the Fish actually hit those annoying, 15-mph pitches Moyer was offering them, and through six innings, the team managed eleven hits and three runs off of their longtime nemesis.
If the bats are working against Moyer and Marlins ace Josh Johnson is on the mound, good things are bound to happen. JJ didn’t appear to be himself when he struggled to start the game, but he held the Phillies to one run in a very shaky first inning, and went on to pitch six innings, giving up just four hits and the first-inning run to the Phils. A couple of great defensive plays contributed to JJ’s success, including a stunning Jeremy Hermida snow cone grab of a long fly ball up against the wall in right to save a few runs in the first. Hermida the Gold Glover? I told you it was a strange afternoon.
The final out JJ recorded in the game was a strikeout of Ryan Howard in the bottom of the sixth. Howard was rung up by home plate umpire Ed Rapuano on a pitch that several Phillies took exception to, and that’s where the afternoon got really exciting.
It’s like I always say: how dare anyone call a pitch a strike if Shane Victorino is not in 100% agreement?! Well, the Phil’s center fielder wasn’t, and he thought it would be a good idea to discuss his disapproval with Ed Rapuano in the midst of a Wes Helms at-bat during the top of the seventh inning… from center field. I have no idea on earth why that would bother an umpire in the least, but it did, and Rapuano tossed Victorino from the game.
Upon hearing the news of his ejection, Victorino trotted calmly to the Phillies dugout and accepted his punishment with grace and dignity raced to home plate with a fury reminiscent of a man possessed by the devil and pretended that he was going to tear the flesh from Ed Rapuano’s bones. But come on. We all know Ed could take Victorino down with one hand tied behind his back, and the three (HA!) Phillies it took to “hold back” the pint-sized Hawaiian were there for show, I assure you.
After Victorino’s ejection, the Marlins went on to score six runs against Phils reliever Rodrigo Lopez that inning, sealing the victory, and the sweep, for the Fish.
And then the ever-classy Philadelphia fans booed the poor guy who sang God Bless America. I guess when Shane Victorino is upset, or their team is getting swept, any love of country–or just plain common courtesy–flies out the window for residents of the city of brotherly loathing.
Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan were both 4-for-6 in the game with several RBI, and with his second hit of the afternoon, Coghlan surpassed Juan Pierre and Miguel Cabrera to set a new franchise record for consecutive multi-hit games (8). Jorge Cantu drove in a pair of runs, and Wes Helms topped off the scoring with a two-run homer in the ninth inning.
On an afternoon when fans were expecting to see a big zero under the Marlins “H” in the box score for most of the game, the team treated us to a season-high 19 hits, a dozen runs, and a sweep of the Phillies at home to pull within four games of the NL East leaders.
Ah, nothing beats a sweep of my least favorite team in baseball.