Walter Mencken 11:31 a.m., Feb. 1
Statisticians will tell you that there is no such thing as a law of averages, while baseball writers will tell you that streaks come to an end eventually. Baseball players just play the game, and even hopeless romantics will likely admit that all good things will eventually trickle out, only to hopefully start anew again.
And so, the Florida Marlins beat the San Diego Padres Saturday, busting up an impressive streak by the Padres where they had beaten the Marlins in Florida nine straight times. Apparently in this case, the tenth time was the charm for Florida.
The Marlins got off to a quick start against Padres starter Ross Ohlendorf, when Emilio Bonifacio walked and then stole second base. After retiring Donovan Solano and Jose Reyes, Ohlendorf then gave up a single to Carlos Lee which scored Bonifacio, and the Marlins were up 1-0 after an inning.
Ross Ohlendorf ran into more trouble in the bottom of the third inning. Nathan Eovaldi hit an infield single on a tough play for second baseman Alexi Amarista, Amarista starting for the first time in a few games due to an injured thumb. After retiring Bonifacio and Solano, Ohlendorf left a change-up a little high in the zone and Jose Reyes took the pitch to right field for a two-run homer. After three innings, the Marlins led 3-0.
Meanwhile, the Padres couldn't capitalize on opportunities against Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi. In the fourth inning, San Diego had runners on first and second base with no one out and came up empty. In the sixth, the Padres finally scored a run but could have scored more.
Chase Headley opened the inning with a sharp single up the middle. After Carlos Quentin flied out, Yasmani Grandal singled to right field and Headley took third. Yonder Alonso then hit his 25th double of the season, scoring Headley and moving Grandal to third base, with only one out.
But the Padres could get nothing more out of the opportunity. Grandal was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice that Maybin hit into, and Everth Cabrera struck out to end the threat.
"We had some opportunities, and we didn't cash in," manager Buddy Black said after the game.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Alex Hinshaw relieved Ross Ohlendorf, and was greeted by Justin Ruggiano's eighth home run of the season. After eight innings, the Marlins padded their lead to 4-1.
The Padres kept chipping away. With Mike Dunn in relief for the Marlins and one out, Carlos Quentin lined a double to left field, and then took third on a Dunn wild pitch. Yasmani Grandal then hit a sacrifice fly to center field, and Quentin tagged and scored to cut the Marlins' lead to 4-2.
It wasn't enough. Ex-Padre Heath Bell did not come out to get the save, he's been demoted while Steve Cishek came in for the top of the ninth inning to close it out for Florida. This is what happens.
Alexi Amarista's thumb is well enough to where he started on Saturday, playing second base. He went 0-4 but played well in the field, signaling that his thumb injury is likely behind him.
The Cuban Connection continued to shine in Florida, in spite of the loss. Yasmani Grandal went 1-2 and Yonder Alonso went 2-4 with another multi-double game, and each had a run batted in. Is it the humidity? Or maybe it's just Florida, but in two games, the duo has been impressive at the plate. Humidifiers at Petco? Stay tuned.
Sunday, the Marlins and the Padres will play the rubber game of the series. The Padres will send Clayton Richard (7-11, 4.17) to face Josh Johnson (6-7, 4.14) of the Marlins. Game starts at 10:10 AM, PDST, so set those alarms. XX 1090 AM on radio, and Fox Sports San Diego if you have Cox Cable or DirecTV, and you can eat your scrambled eggs and bacon and watch some ball. Otherwise, maybe Time Warner or AT&T U-verse carries the competitive canary competitions. Fun. Almost as fun as Olympic archery.