There was still a pretty awful taste in our mouths from the bullpen’s botched sweep of the Nationals as the Marlins rolled into Flushing, New York on Tuesday.
Sure, the Marlins diplomatic soundbites about “forgetting” the horror of the loss thirty minutes after it ended sounded nice in the clubhouse, but put Craig Minervini’s mic in front of a few Fish fans, and you’d hear decidedly less upbeat feedback.
Rick VandenHurk got the start as the Fish opened up their series with the Mets at Citi Field, and he looked pretty good to start, allowing just one hit to the Mets through the first three innings.
New York got on the board in the fourth when Daniel Murphy and Jeff Francoeur singled with one out, and a sac fly by Josh Thole scored a run. Hurk struck out Anderson Hernandez to end the inning, but not before he grabbed at his side in apparent pain. Vandy winced walking off the mound toward the dugout, and his night was over due to a stiff back after a neat 4 innings in which he struck out three and allowed just one run on four hits and one walk.
The Marlins tagged starter Tim Redding for four runs on a couple of long balls in his five innings of work for the Mets. With Coghlan on base in the third, Hanley Ramirez jacked his 101st career home run to give the Fish a 2-0 lead, and Cameron Maybin followed with a 2-run shot in the top of the fourth that landed right in the apple in center field.
It was Hopper who came in to relieve Hurk in the fifth inning. Hop gave up a run when Luis Castillo singled to score Angel Pagan, who had tripled to open the inning.
The Fish had a chance to add on in the top of the sixth when Gaby Sanchez singled with Dan Uggla on second. Uggla was held at third, but attempted to score when the throw to the plate sailed past Thole. Uggla was thrown out at the plate, and that was as close to scoring as the Marlins would get for the remainder of the game.
The Fish managed just two hits and two walks off of the Mets bullpen, and couldn’t add to their four runs.
In the meantime, the Marlins bullpen worked on redeeming themselves for Sunday’s heartbreaker. Brian Sanches pitched a scoreless sixth, but got into trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases with one out. He struck out David Wright for the second out of the inning before Carlos Beltran flied out to the warning track (which induced about 40,000 Fish fan heart attacks, but got the Marlins out of the inning unscathed).
Lindstrom was up next, and handled the Mets 1-2-3 in the eighth, before Leo Nunez marched in to save it in the ninth. Miraculously, saving the game is exactly what he did.
It was Brian Sanches who got the win, and the Fish got off to a good start against the Mets, taking game one of the series at Citi Field.
We won’t call it redemption for Sunday, but at least it’s a start.