It was deja vu all over again in Miami as the Astros – Marlins game came down to the wire and ended in a 5-4 score for the third straight day. Miami salvaged the series by sandwiching a pair of extra inning wins around Saturday’s ninth inning meltdown. Hanley Ramirez was the star of the game for Miami, tying the game with a two-run dinger in the eighth and driving in the winning run with a hit in the eleventh.
Ramirez is quickly becoming my most un-favorite player in the league. Not because he killed the Astros today, but because of his showboating style of play. Ramirez spends a little too much time practicing his homerun trot and his Lady Ga-Ga dance moves. He obviously needs to concentrate more on learning his new position on the diamond. Ramirez still looks lost at times at the hot corner.
The Astros wasted a fantastic performance from starting pitcher J.A. Happ in today’s game. The Astros big lefty held Miami to two runs on five hits in six innings of work. Happ had a little extra velocity on his fastball and threw an extremely high percentage of heaters en route to eight strikeouts.
The Astros squandered opportunities again today, leaving the bases loaded three times on the afternoon. But the most disappointing moment of the game, for me, was when Wesley Wright walked Emilio Bonifacio to start the eighth inning. Wright was brought in to face one hitter and couldn’t get the job done. Bonifacio has plenty of speed and almost no power, making him the type of hitter that you never want to walk to lead off an inning. Wright’s inability to get Bonifacio would prove to be crucial to the outcome of the game. Wilton Lopez relieved Wright and gave up a two-run blast to Hanley Ramirez that tied the game.
A poor base-running decision by Chris Johnson brought the Astros tenth inning to an abrupt halt. After leading off the frame with a base hit and moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, Johnson was doubled-off when he dashed around third base on a Jose Altuve‘s humpback liner that was caught by Omar Infante.
A couple of interesting events transpired over the course of the game. Omar Infante became the first Marlins player to hit a homerun in the spacious Marlins Park, setting off the long anticipated debut of the tacky homerun sculpture beyond the centerfield wall. I have to say it was a bit anticlimactic. I was expecting more flashing lights and maybe some dolphin noises or something.
Marlins interim manager Joey Cora also got himself into a bit of a pickle late in the contest. Cora sent relief pitcher Chad Gaudin to the plate with two out and two on in the tenth. Apparently Cora had mismanaged his bullpen so badly over the course of the weekend that no one else was available to pitch. Cora dodged a bullet as the Marlins were able to win the game in the eleventh, despite a dropped infield popup in the top half of the inning.
J.D. Martinez stayed hot at the plate, smashing two hits in the ballgame. Jordan Schafer tweaked his neck on a stolen base attempt in the eleventh and his status is day-to-day. The loss drops the Astros record to 4-5 and they will have their hands full as they travel to Washington to face the red-hot Nats in a four game series. Rookie Kyle Weiland faces Stephen Strasburg in tomorrow’s series opener.