It was fitting that Sean West took the mound Tuesday night with the song “Hero” blaring through the stadium speakers. After a road trip that, well, sucked, a hero was just what the Marlins were in need of. Or, if you prefer to be less melodramatic about the game of baseball, at the very least the team was in need of a starter who could go more than four innings, and get through the first without giving up three or four runs.
West wasn’t necessarily heroic as the Fish took on the Mets to kick off a ten-game homestand at The Shark, but he did have a quality night on the mound, allowing just one run on six hits and three walks through six innings.
Nelson Figueroa wasn’t too bad himself, and gave the Marlins some trouble when he attempted to do his best impersonation of a Johan Santana start. Figueroa was filling in for Santana after the starter was scratched from the game due to elbow issues, and allowed just four hits to the Marlins through five innings.
With the score tied up at one in the Fifth, it was Ross “True Grit” Gload who established himself as the hero of the night. West got into trouble when he loaded the bases with one out, and Jeff Francoeur hit a high pop in foul territory, which Ross Gload practically leapt over the camera well to catch. From HLD&S’s stellar view in the bullpen box, a catch didn’t even seem humanly possible, so we could only guess at what the crowd was cheering about (free frozen lemonade? The Mermaids actually dancing in sync for once? It was anybody’s guess, really) until the replay came up on the jumbotron. The defensive play seemed to magically remind Sean how to throw strikes, and he struck out Fernando Tatis on three pitches to end the threat.
Ross Gload wasn’t quite done with the gritty heroics after his potentially game-saving catch, though. With two out and Hermida on second in the bottom of the fifth, Gload swooped in yet again to save the day, hitting a single to drive in the tie-breaking run and give the Fish a 2-1 lead.
The Marlins had chances to add on to the score, but they, um, chose not to. After the weekend bullpen issues, a one-run lead made me feel like throwing up my insides from fear and panic wasn’t the most comfortable way to enter the final innings. But, after Sanches pitched a scoreless 7th, it was clear that Lindstrom and Nunez were not in the mood for theatrics. 1-2-3 8th and 9th innings ensued, and the Fish took game one from the Mets.
The Marlins are 7 games behind the Phillies in the East, and remain 5 games back in the Wild Card, thanks to another Rockies win.