Eye of the Hurricane

April 27, 2011

Ethier extends hit streak, wins game for Dodgers

Filed under: Major League Baseball — davidfurones @ 3:00 pm
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By DAVID FURONES

 With a smooth swing of the bat and a fly ball that gracefully landed into the abandoned right field Sun Life Stadium seats, Andre Ethier gave the Dodgers their first lead, and the only one they would need Wednesday afternoon for the 5-4 victory. 

Ethier had already extended his Major League-leading hitting streak to 24 games with a sharp line drive to center in his second at bat against Sanchez, which came in the fourth inning. 

The Marlins, who had already managed to win the first two of the series against the Dodgers, finished the homestand going 7-2, are now tied with the Phillies for the lead atop the NL East as they wait for Philadelphia to play in Arizona at 3:40 p.m.

 Nonetheless, the 15-7 start ties the Marlins franchise record for best start through 23 games. 

Florida went down harmlessly in the bottom of the tenth as the two, three and four hitters were retired in order against Vicente Padilla—not Jonathan Broxton—who earned the save making only his third appearance of the season.

 The Marlins threatened to finish it in the bottom of the ninth with runners on second and third and one out. Scott Cousins, who remained in the game via a double switch after pinch hitting in the seventh, then struck out and pinch hitter John Buck grounded softly to short to end the inning. 

The usually reliable Marlins bullpen gave up the lead in the seventh and then the ball game in extras, although they were called upon earlier than normal. 

The Marlins utilized every single pitcher they had in the bullpen to get through the game.

 Anibal Sanchez, coming off his Friday night no-hit bid that was lost in the ninth against the Rockies, was spotless through three innings, but the Dodgers got to him in the fourth with a Rod Barajas three-run shot to left field. 

After throwing 123 pitches in his complete game outing against Colorado, the team wanted to hold him back Wednesday and his day was done after 77 pitches. He ended the day pitching five innings, striking out four, giving up four hits and three runs, with his only mistake being the pitch he made to Barajas in the fourth.

 He left the game with a one-run lead but would end up with a no decision after Ryan Webb gave up a double to pinch hitter Juan Uribe that plated Aaron Miles in the seventh.

 Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley pitched six innings, giving up four runs off five hits. Billingsley did not give up a hit after all the damage was done off him in the second inning. The Dodger bullpen pitched in four shutout innings in relief. 

The Fish got the scoring started in the second when a rally of three consecutive singles loaded the bases for Brett Hayes, who then belted a long single off the left field “teal tower” that could only score one as the runners held as Tony Gwynn bluffed as if he was under the high fly ball. After an Anibal Sanchez strikeout, Chris Coghlan lined a shot down the left field line that cleared the bases and put the Marlins up 4-0. They wouldn’t score again. 

Marlins all-star Hanley Ramirez went right back to his struggling ways after his 2-for-4 outing Tuesday night. Ramirez went 0-for-5 on the day and is currently hitting .135 on the season against right-handed pitching. 

The Marlins have been winning without the services of Logan Morrison, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 20 with a sprained left foot. The cast on his foot was removed Monday but Morrison will continue to rehab to get back into action. The original prognosis on his injury was that it would take two to four weeks to recover.

 Despite the time lost, he continues to lead the team in several statistical categories including batting average and OPS while he remains tied with leadoff man Chris Coghlan for the home run lead.

 Contrary to other recent seasons, Florida has gotten outstanding production from their bullpen and defense and has not had to rely on the three-run bombs that have usually salvaged them. 

“Timely hitting, pitching, and defense,” says Morrison, “that’ll get you where you need to go.”

 The registered attendance of 16,523 for Wednesday’s matinee consisted of approximately 9,000 students in grades 3-8 who were invited to Sun Life Stadium as part of the fifth annual CBS4 Weather Day, in which students received a pre-game program on weather issues relevant in South Florida and then stayed for the noon start to the game.

 Mostly all the schools invited to the game left before the final out as they had to get their kids back on campus before 3 p.m.

 The Marlins have the day off Thursday before they travel to Cincinnati to face the Reds at Great American Ballpark to kick off a week-long road trip that ends in St. Louis. 

Javier Vazquez will take his record of 1-2 and 6.52 ERA and start Friday to face Cincinnati lefty Travis Wood. 

The Marlins did not fare well in their last trip to Cincinnati, getting swept in the three-game series in 2010. The last time the Marlins won a season series against the Reds was 2005.

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