Tagged: Chris Sampson

And the Fish Take the Series.

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Look, kid, we’re beat. Our friggin’ arms are about to fall off in here, and it’d be huge if you could do us all a solid and go at least six tonight.”
Brendan Donnelly’s words to Sean West may not go down in history as the most inspirational pre-game pep talk of all time, but they were all the rookie needed to hear as he made his way out of the bullpen to take the hill in the final game of the Marlins series with the Astros Thursday night at The Shark. 
Actually, to be perfectly honest Donnelly’s words probably won’t go down in history as anything, since I just made them up. But I’m pretty sure somebody had to have said something to West to inspire an outing in which he walked nobody, struck out three and allowed just five hits and one run through six innings of work. Whatever the reason behind his performance, I (obviously) think I speak on behalf of the entire Marlins bullpen when I say THANK YOU, Sean West.
Jorge Cantu got the scoring started off for the Fish when he took a little break from his, uh, break from hitting home runs, and went deep against Mike Hampton in the bottom of the first to give the Marlins the early 2-0 lead. Ronny Paulino also hit a solo shot off of Hampton in the fifth that put the Marlins up 3-1 as the Astros went to their bullpen.

In the end, it turns out the Fish didn’t actually need any of the half-dozen runs they scored off of reliever Chris Sampson in the sixth, but it was entertaining to watch them do it anyway. Ten Marlins came to bat in the inning, and RBI from Helms, Gload, Coghlan, Bonifacio and Ramirez put another six runs on the board to make it a 9-1 ball game. 

After the game, Sampson, who walked two and gave up five hits and six runs in 2/3 of an inning, was optioned to AAA… and another one bites the dust courtesy of the Fish and their smoking bats.

Chris Coghlan’s single in the sixth extended his hitting streak to twelve games, while Hanley Ramirez went 2-for-4 to stretch his own hit-streak to nine games. As a team, the Marlins extended a streak as well– the Fish have now logged double-digit hits in ten straight games, with 11 hits off of the Astros in the series finale.
Brian Sanches pitched two scoreless innings in relief of West, and Chris Leroux–who was recalled from AA Jacksonville Thursday to take Tim Wood’s place on the roster, and promptly sent back there after the game–gave up two walks, two hits and a run to the Astros before he recorded three outs in the ninth. (We’re going to have to stop allowing Matt Lindstrom to give these kids pointers before they pitch.)
The Marlins took three out of four from the Astros, and remain 4 1/2 games back from the Phillies in the East, and three games back of the wild card-leading Rockies, who are in town for a three-game series which starts tonight.
Let’s hope the Fish have some hits left in them for the weekend.

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The Streak Continues! (uh, for Fish, not  Coghlan)

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Fresh off their sweep of the Phillies on the road, the Marlins were back in town to kick off a four-game set with the Houston Astros Monday night at Land Shark Stadium, and to prove to themselves (and maybe the Nationals) that they are also capable of handling teams which are not in first place.
Brian Moehler was on the mound for the Astros, and the Marlins welcomed their old buddy back with open arms… and with an RBI from Jorge Cantu, a two-run double from John Baker and a sac fly from Cody Ross to take a four-run lead in the first. We missed you, Moehler.
Brian didn’t allow another run in his five innings of work, but the Marlins took the lead in the first, and wouldn’t give it up. (Aw crap, I just gave away the ending. My bad.)
It was Rick VandenHurk making the start for the Fish, and he also seemed to be making a very concerted effort to cram a complete game’s worth of pitches into five innings. Vandy didn’t have a bad start Monday night, but he didn’t necessarily make it look too easy through five innings against the Astros. Hurk managed to get through a shaky first without giving up a run, but he wasn’t as lucky in the second when, um, big-formidable-power-hitter Darin Erstad took him deep to put two runs on the board for Houston. With five hits, three walks, four K’s and two runs to his credit, Hurk was finished after five innings and 97 pitches. 
The Marlins added three runs in the sixth inning off of Astros reliever Chris Sampson, who balked in a run with the bases loaded, and then paid for several intentional walks. Sampson put Gload on base to pitch to Chris Coghlan, who answered with an RBI single, and then decided to try his luck at the strategy again by walking Nick Johnson intentionally with Hanley Ramirez on deck. It’s not often you’ll see a team choose to walk a guy to pitch to Hanley, and he showed the Astros why when he batted in his 75th run of the season. 
All eyes were on Chris Coghlan as he attempted to add on to his streak of eight consecutive multi-hit games, but while the rookie reached base three times, he only got one hit on the night. While that streak came to an end, though, the team kept their streak of double-digit hits alive for the seventh game in a row.
Headed into the ninth, the Marlins lead 8-3, and Lindstrom came in to record the final three outs of the game. Or that was the idea, anyway. Normally when a pitcher comes in to pitch the ninth with a five-run lead, it’s not considered a save situation. But I did say it was Matt Lindstrom coming in pitch, and we all know that with him, pretty much any and every situation can be considered a save (as in, he’ll probably need to be saved from the situation he gets himself into when he gives up multiple walks, hits and runs). Matty only got through 1/3 of the ninth inning, and gave up three runs–one earned. In fairness to Matt, Uggla’s error didn’t exactly help him out.

Fredi pulled Lindstrom for Leo Nunez, and Leo must have wanted to make Chris Sampson feel a little better about his rough sixth inning, so he balked in a run before recording the save for the Marlins. 

The Fish have now won four straight, and are just 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the East. Hopefully they can keep the hot streak going Tuesday night as Chris Volstad takes the hill in the second game of the series. 

Let’s gain more ground, shall we? Thanks.