The Fish were kind enough to remind us Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.
Josh Johnson was completely out of character on the mound as he played the role of a mere mortal in the series finale with the Astros. JJ lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up 4 runs on seven hits, which marked only the third time this season that he has allowed more than three earned runs in a start. (JJ allowed 6 runs on April 18th and 4 runs on August 4th, both–interestingly–in starts against the Nationals.)
Less than sharp through the first three innings, Johnson still managed to hold the Astros scoreless. And then Carlos Lee continued his campaign to become HLD&S’s least-favorite Astro when he crushed another home run in the series, a 2-run shot in the fourth to put Houston on the board and in the lead. Hunter Pence followed Lee with a long ball of his own, and stretched the Astros lead to two runs.
In the fifth, Josh was in trouble again. He gave up a double to Quintero before Wandy Rodriguez forgot he was a pitcher and doubled to drive in a run. JJ went on to load the bases with one out, and thus ended his night on the mound.
Cristhian Martinez finished the inning by inducing a double play, and tossed 2 2/3 scorelesss innings in relief of Johnson. He was thanked for his efforts by being demoted immediately following the game.
A three-run deficit doesn’t seem insurmountable at all, but that’s only if you’re going to get hits and score and stuff. It didn’t appear the Fish were in the mood to do any of the above, and not only did the Marlins’ streak of series wins come to an end Thursday night, the team’s double-digit hit streak was also snapped as the lineup struggled to get much of anything done against Wandy Rodriguez.
Rodriguez threw a bunch of pitches in a shaky first inning and loaded the bases with Fish thanks to walks and a throwing error by Tejada. Then the scoring started for the Fish when Bonifacio walked and then scored on Uggla’s RBI fielders choice.
Unfortunately, that is also where the scoring ended for the Fish.
After his first-inning struggles, Wandy lasted through eight for Houston and allowed just 4 hits to the Marlins lineup. So, once again the Marlins started a game with promise only to fizzle out offensively.
If you’re looking for a bright spot in the loss, Hanley did manage to extend his hitting streak to 15 games on an infield single. OK, so maybe that’s more of a dimly-lit spot than a bright one, but it’s all we’ve got.
The Phillies and Rockies won, of course, because it would just be too much to ask either team to ever lose, and the Marlins slipped back another game both in the Wild Card and the NL East.