Longshot Marlin overcomes odds to bust Redbirds
Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 8:14 pm
By: By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) — The odds say Chris Carpenter was absolutely correct to intentionally walk Florida slugger Mike Stanton, and take a chance against light-hitting Brad Davis with the bases loaded.
A logical approach, for certain. It simply didn’t work.
Chris Volstad threw a five-hitter for his second career shutout, Davis hit the first slam ever by a Marlins catcher and Florida dealt St. Louis’ dimming playoff hopes a blow by beating the Cardinals 4-0 on Monday to snap a six-game slide.
St. Louis’ loss, combined with Cincinnati’s win later Monday over Milwaukee, dropped the Cardinals seven games behind the Reds in the NL Central.
Carpenter “wasn’t perfect in that one inning and they get four runs,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, whose team is 12-23 since Aug. 13. “That shouldn’t be enough to beat us.”
Monday’s game was a makeup following a rainout on Aug. 8, and the teams needed only 1 hour, 52 minutes to finish — it was the fastest game in Marlins’ history, by two minutes.
Davis’ slam came in the second inning, the first surrendered by Carpenter (15-8) in 3,699 at-bats since June 12, 2004. Carpenter passed on Stanton — who has 20 home runs — to face Davis.
“It’s the smart move,” Davis said. “I’m just glad that I was able to make it backfire on them a little bit.”
Or a lot. Davis sent Carpenter’s 2-0 offering over the high wall in left field, giving the Marlins the lead for good.
From there, it was all Volstad (10-9).
His other shutout was July 8, 2009, at San Francisco. After recently serving a six-game suspension for his role in a brawl against the Washington Nationals, the young right-hander was well-rested.
He threw a career-high 118 pitches, 78 for strikes.
“I know the group of guys we have in here,” Volstad said, “We’re not a team that’s going to give up, ever, or get down on ourselves. But it’s nice to have a boost every once in a while.”
Carpenter gave up five hits and struck out six in six innings.
Matt Holliday had two hits in his 1,000th career game.
Dan Uggla started the Florida second inning with a double and that, combined with a walk to Gaby Sanchez and the intentional pass two batters later to Stanton, loaded the bases for Davis — who had been a mere 0 for 2 in that situation in his brief major league career.
“One pitch,” Carpenter lamented, “and it cost you the game.”
Volstad needed only 93 pitches to get through seven innings, and Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez decided to let him bat instead of going to the bullpen. Volstad rewarded him with a 1-2-3 eighth. And after a two-out double to Yadier Molina in the ninth, Volstad ended it by getting pinch-hitter Mark Hamilton to line out to center.
“Masterpiece,” Rodriguez said.
Ozzie Martinez made his first major league start for Florida at shortstop, after Emilio Bonifacio was a late scratch with left hamstring tightness. Martinez was shot three times — a victim of mistaken identity — in his native Puerto Rico a little more than 11 months ago, but the bullets did not pierce any organs and he was able to recover in time for spring training.
Martinez went 1-for-4. He spent most of this season in the minors before getting called up for the first time Sunday.
“I had tears in my eyes,” Rodriguez said. “I saw him that day that he got shot in Puerto Rico. It was amazing. Great feeling.”
Notes: Charles Johnson hit a slam on May 13, 2001 as a Marlins pinch-hitter, then remained in the game as a catcher. … Florida left fielder Logan Morrison singled, extending his streak of reaching base to 39 straight games, three away of matching Mark Teixeira for the longest stretch in the majors this season. … Carpenter has given up 21 home runs this season, 14 more than he yielded in 2009. … Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez took batting practice, but Rodriguez isn’t sure when — or if — he will be back in the lineup this season. Ramirez wore a protective wrap over his sore elbow.