Rockies-Marlins Back and Forth Duel Potential Turning Point For Both

Brian KarpelContributor IJuly 20, 2010

PHOENIX - JULY 11:  Infielder Hanley Ramirez #2, pitcher Alex Sanabia #59 and Dan Uggla #6 of the Florida Marlins stand on the mound as manager Edwin Rodriguez #36 walks up during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 11, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Marlins defeated the Diamondbacks 2-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last night's game between the Marlins and Rockies was supposed to be a pitchers' duel.  Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Anibal Sanchez.  The battle of the two "No Hitter Boys."  What it turned out to be was a game that the Marlins and Rockies will possibly both look at as a  turning point in their respective Wild Card runs.

It had offense, it had sloppy fielding, it had superstars bunting in runs, six lead changes, and finally a walk-off home run.

It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Fish when Jorge Cantu's error in the third inning gave way to two unearned runs. After all, they were facing Ubaldo Jimenez, arguably the best pitcher in the National League. Runs were going to be hard to come by.  It didn't take too long for that to go out the window. 

In the bottom of the inning it was a throwing error by Jimenez himself that opened the door for the Marlins to score three times and take a 3-2 lead (included in this was Hanley Ramirez' RBI bunt single).

After the Rockies took a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth, the Marlins weren't about to fold.  The bottom of the inning was highlighted by an Ublado Jimenez pitch that was rocketed into the club level in left field by Mike Stanton.  Goodbye Jimenez, hello 6-4 Marlins lead!

Don't leave your computer screen yet! 

The Marlins added on a run in the seventh to take a 7-4 lead. Fast forward to the top of the eighth.  Following a seemingly harmless solo shot by Ian Stewart, Clay Hensley did something that nobody in the Marlins bullpen has done since before the All-Star break—he self destructed! 

With two out and Clint Barmas at first, Hensley then walked Seth Smith, thus bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.  Enter Jhan Marinez to the mound, exit the baseball from the field courtesy of Jonathon Herrera! 8-7 Rockies.

So here we are in the bottom of the ninth.  Rockies closer Huston Street gets Gaby Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez to fly out.  Up comes Dan Uggla who works a walk.  Donnie Murphy comes up to pinch hit for Marinez (who was batting in the fifth spot).  Looks like light's out. 

Not on this night! Murphy hits a 1-0 fastball into the right field seats!  Marlins win in walk-off fashion!!  Words not heard around these parts that often in 2010!

This is the type of game that can change a teams' season. 

As Howard Cosell used to say about boxing matches that went back and forth, this game had "changing tides and ebb and flow."  The Marlins offense finally came back from the All-Star Break last night.  It looked like an offensive prize fight with Donnie Murphy delivering the knockout punch with two seconds left in the final round.

As a result, they gained on the Rockies, Mets, Phillies and Braves last night.  One down in this twelve game stretch that I blogged about yesterday, eleven to go!