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.