Phillies fans hanging over the lip above the Marlins bullpen were talking trash to Heath Bell as he was warming up before Saturday’s ninth inning, trying to unsettle him.
“Want a cheesesteak?”
“Here comes a blown save!”
“I’m going to take you off my fantasy team!”
Said Bell afterward while sitting in front of his locker with his right arm wrapped in ice: “Usually, they come up with some really funny stuff, and it gets me to laugh. The funny thing is it relaxes me because I’m chuckling and having a good time.”
Bell didn’t think the fans were in their best form Saturday. He has heard better material. But Bell shut their traps, preserving the Marlins’ 5-4 victory over the Phillies with a scoreless ninth.
Hanley Ramirez connected on a pair of home runs as the Marlins, for the second time this season, pinned a loss on Phillies starter Cole Hamels (8-2), who hasn’t lost to anyone else. Hamels had reeled off eight consecutive victories after losing to the Marlins in his first start of the season in April.
“We’re facing one of the best pitchers in the game right now, and we handled him pretty well,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Down 3-0 early, the Marlins rallied for their major-league leading 21st comeback victory. Ricky Nolasco overcame a dull start in front of a sellout crowd of 45,509 to improve to 6-1 in his career at Citizens Bank Park.
“If you don’t enjoy pitching here, whether you’re the visitor or you’re the home team, there’s something wrong with you,” Nolasco said. “When you watch games here, it’s so exciting with the fans selling out [the park].”
The Phillies scored a run in each of the first three innings off Nolasco.
But Ramirez got things going for the Marlins in the fourth when he led off the inning with a home run to left-center. A fan seated in the front row of the bleachers reached over the railing to catch the shot, prompting umpires to review the replay of the blow just to make sure it was a home run. It was. The Marlins added another run in the inning on Justin Ruggiano’s RBI double.
In the sixth, Ramirez put the Marlins on top with a two-run shot to left. It was his 144th career home run, which moved him into second place on the team’s all-time list. Dan Uggla leads with 154.
“Hanley is a great hitter,” Nolasco said. “He started off slow, but he’s been coming around. He’s seen Cole Hamels a lot, and maybe that had something to do with it. He put together two big at-bats that were pretty much the whole game for us.”
Ramirez has seen Hamels quite a bit, but he had never homered off the lefty in 53 at-bats entering Saturday.
“We’ve been playing pretty good baseball, so we’re just going to try to continue to do that,” Ramirez said. “I don’t talk about me. I talk about the team, and I think we’re doing pretty well right now. We don’t give up. Everybody is on the same page.”
Since May 1, Ramirez has hit .323 with six homers.
The Marlins made it 5-3 in the seventh on Jose Reyes’ RBI double. It turned out to be the deciding run, as the Phillies cut the lead to 5-4 in the eighth. Jimmy Rollins tripled off the wall in right and ended up scoring on a sacrifice fly.
But after taking over for Nolasco, Steve Cishek struck out Carlos Ruiz and Ty Wigginton to prevent any further damage.
Bell, after hearing the heckling from fans, entered to start the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Placido Polanco. But he retired the next three batters for his 11th save. Bell has now converted each of his past four save opportunities.
“Take me off your fantasy team,” a smiling Bell said after it was over. “I don’t really care about that.”