Miami Wins Game On Late Throwing Mistake; Marlins 3, Indians 2

By Mike Brandyberry

One play can make the difference in a game and that was evidence Friday evening when the Marlins defeated the Indians, 3-2. Joe Smith’s inability to cut down a lead runner, hung out to dry was the difference in the game.

The game was decided in the late innings, but was crafted by outstanding pitching performances from the Indians Justin Masterson and the Marlins Carlos Zambrano.

“I thought it was a well pitched ball game on both sides, a little better on their side,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “Zambrano did a good job and when you only score two runs, you have to play near perfectly.”

The Tribe jumped ahead early in the bottom of the second inning with some two-out thunder. After two outs were retired, Johnny Damon walked and Casey Kotchman doubled down the right field line. Damon chugged around, all the way from first base to score the game’s first run. After Jose Lopez walked, Shin-Soo Choo singled to center field to score Kotchman and give the Indians an early 2-0 lead.

Masterson would not be able to hold the two run lead, however. The very next half inning, Bryan Petersen would walk and Jose Reyes would single to right field to put runners on the corners with no one out. Omar Infante would ground out on a fielder’s choice to shortstop, but would score Petersen from third, putting the Marlins on the board and cutting the Tribe lead to 2-1.

But Masterson would settle down and keep the Marlins at bay until the top of the sixth inning, when with one out Infante walked and Hanley Ramirez doubled to left field to put runners on second and third. Greg Dobbs would fly out to short left field, but Damon’s three bounce throw to the plate would not get Infante and the Marlins would tie the game at two.

Each starting pitcher would leave after seven innings. Masterson would work seven strong, allowing six hits, two runs, three walks and five strikeouts on 111 pitches. Zambrano matched Masterson on the mound, throwing the same seven innings, allowing only four hits, two runs, five walks and two strikeouts. Each team had the chance to capitalize on the other pitcher’s walks.

“I’m just happy with the way Justin (Masterson) threw the ball today,” Acta said. “He had better command and better command against left handers.”

Tony Sipp would relieve Masteson in the top of the eighth inning and promptly walk Peterson to start the inning. Reyes would sacrifice bunt the lead runner to second base before Sipp was removed for right-hander Smith. Infante then grounded back up the middle to Smith, who snagged the ball and had Petersen caught between second and third, but an errant throw to second allowed him to advance to third base. Hanley Ramirez would sacrifice fly to center field scoring Petersen and give the Marlins a 3-2 lead.

“He probably took too long to get rid of the ball,” Acta said. “Once you get them caught in between, you want to get the out. Joe is one of our best fielders though.”

Randy Choate worked a three-up, three-down eighth inning—retiring Carlos Santana, Travis Hafner and Michael Brantley and Heath Bell worked an exact same ninth inning for the save and the victory for Miami.

Saturday, Jeanmar Gomez (2-2, 3.75 ERA) will try to right the ship against left hander, Anibal Sanchez (2-1, 2.28 ERA). The Tribe will be forced to get back in the series against a left hander. They are 4-8 on the season against left-handed starters. Game time is set for 4:05 ET on WKYC-3 and the Indians Radio Network.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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