The Florida Marlins began a critical home stand by losing to the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 last night.
Roy Halladay returned to the mound where he pitched his perfect game. There would be no such drama this time.
More importantly, this was Game 1 of a critical three-game set in both the National League East and Wild Card races.
Sean West made his first Major League appearance of 2010 last night. He was touched up for five runs in five innings (four earned).
Back to back home runs by Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz would open the scoring in the top of the second inning. Dan Uggla would counter with a bomb of his own in the bottom of the frame.
Unfortunately, Uggla’s home run would be all the Marlins offense would muster off of the Phillies ace on this night.
In the Phillies half of the fourth, with one man out, Francisco would reach on a sharply hit ball to third baseman Hector Luna. Carlos Ruiz would follow with a double to center, putting runners on second and third. The Fish would get out No. 2 when Cody Ransom popped out to shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Wilson Valdez was intentionally walked to get to the pitcher’s spot.
The Marlins strategy would backfire when Halladay helped himself with a two-run single. That increased the Philadelphia lead to three runs.
The Phils would add single runs in the fifth and seventh innings to seal the ballgame.
The loss dropped the Marlins back to .500 at 53-53. They also fell a half-a-game behind the New York Mets, and back into fourth place in the National League East. They are now eight-and-a-half behind the first place Atlanta Braves.
The Marlins also fell back into seventh place among the Wild Card contenders as a result of the loss. In that race, they are also eight-and-a-half back.
Anibal Sanchez, fresh off his almost no-hitter in San Francisco on Thursday afternoon, will take the hill at Sun Life tonight. The Phillies will counter with Kyle Kendrick.
The Marlins need a win tonight to avoid dropping further behind.