Murphy’s Law was in effect for the Marlins in Thursday’s sixth inning. Whatever could go wrong pretty much did in a sloppy 14-7 loss to the Giants at Marlins Park.
They botched a rundown.
They booted the ball.
And usually unflappable pitcher Anibal Sanchez unloaded not one, but two wild pitches.
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From there it only got worse for the Marlins, as they dropped back-to-back decisions for the first time since the end of April. The 14 runs were the most scored this season by a Marlins opponent.
“That’s the worst game we’ve played all year long,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We’ve been playing pretty good baseball all year, all around. Today was very ugly and something you have to turn the page as quick as you can.’’
It was a rare performance for Sanchez, who has pretty much owned the Giants and hadn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his previous 16 starts. Sanchez had gone 3-0 with a microscopic 0.87 ERA in four career starts against the Giants, and the last time Sanchez relinquished more than three runs in a game was Aug. 10 of last season.
But all that success went swirling down the drain in the disastrous sixth when the Marlins imploded in a four-run frame for the Giants, one that started when left fielder Greg Dobbs misplayed Gregor Blanco’s leadoff hit.
The ball shot off Dobbs’ leg as he went to glove the ball and, as a result, Blanco raced to third on a play that was scored a triple. One out later, Melky Cabrera lined a shot up the middle that struck Sanchez on his left wrist. Sanchez picked up the ball and fired quickly to the plate, stopping Blanco dead in his tracks halfway down the line.
Blanco looked to be easy pickings. But catcher Brett Hayes waited too long to unload his throw and Blanco made it back to third safely.
After a wild pitch by Sanchez put Giants at second and third and Buster Posey walked to load the bases, Angel Pagan delivered a two-run double, the Giants added another run on a second wild pitch by Sanchez, and closed out the scoring with a bloop single by Brandon Belt.
“One little play changed the game — the rundown,’’ Guillen said. “I think he didn’t let the ball go right away. It was our defense not doing their job.’’
Sanchez was lifted after 5 1/3 innings for his briefest outing of the season.
If there was any normalcy to the evening, it was the fact that the Marlins didn’t do much scoring for Sanchez while he was on the mound.
Entering Thursday, only two other National League pitchers had received less run support than Sanchez.
Giancarlo Stanton crushed another long home run, a solo shot into the Budweiser Bow Tie Bar in left-center that gave the Marlins a brief, 1-0 lead in the second. The blast was Stanton’s 10th home run and gave him 30 RBI.
But that was all the scoring they gave their starter as the Marlins were unable to solve Ryan Vogelsong, who entered the game only one spot ahead of Sanchez in terms of run support among NL starters. Vogelsong held the Marlins to two runs on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings.
The Marlins did the rest of their scoring late.
Not to say that the Marlins — and first baseman Logan Morrison, in particular — didn’t provide the crowd of 24,099 entertainment value, if not a bit of comic relief. Morrison fell over backwards like a bowling pin while trying to dodge one of Stanton’s hard throws from right.
Morrison, sitting on the infield dirt, wore the look of disbelief while the cameras caught Stanton grinning. But that was the only humor the Marlins could derive out of Thursday’s loss.
And other than Stanton’s belt, about the only time the crowd found legitimate reason to roar was when video highlights of the Heat’s playoff game were being on the scoreboard during breaks in the action.
After taking care of Sanchez, the Giants continued their assault on the Marlins’ bullpen, combining to score seven runs off Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn in the seventh and eighth innings.
Dunn was optioned back to Triple A New Orleans after the game.
“Dunn, I can’t figure out,’’ Guillen said. “This kid’s got a good arm. His breaking ball isn’t working. His location isn’t the greatest.’’