With Edward Mujica and Randy Choate no longer around, manager Ozzie Guillen said there are no defined roles in his bullpen anymore.
There’s just one rule: “When the phone rings — get up,” Guillen said.
Each time the phone rang in the Marlins bullpen Wednesday night, every reliever called upon — Carlos Zambrano, Heath Bell, Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek — came on and delivered as Miami held on for a 4-2 win over the Braves, snapping Atlanta’s seven-game win streak in front of 18,133 at Turner Field.
“It’s a different ballgame when we score early and have a few runs on the board,” said Guillen, whose team coming in had scored 44 runs since the All-Star break — fewest in baseball.
“Carlos did a good job, and the bullpen did a good job. I know it was very dramatic, but they came out of the jam and came out with zeroes on the board. Then [Steve] Cishek shut it down.”
Miami’s tag-team relief effort locked down the final 14 outs, giving up four hits and one earned run. Zambrano, moved to the bullpen on Tuesday, earned the victory — the second in relief in his career. He gave up two hits and one earned run — an RBI double to Dan Uggla with two outs in the sixth, but survived a tough situation with runners on second and third when he got Paul Janish to line out to left.
Bell (two-thirds of an inning, one hit, one strikeout) and Dunn (1 1/3 innings, one hit, one walk) followed before Cishek picked up his fifth save in the ninth. Dunn escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh when he got Freddie Freeman to line out to right.
Left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who replaced Zambrano in the Marlins rotation, picked up the first 13 outs for the Marlins (48-56) on 71 pitches, 46 strikes. He gave up five hits, one walk and one earned run with three strike outs, and looked stunned when Guillen came out to get him with a runner on second and one out in the fifth.
“He told me no more than 75 [pitches],” said LeBlanc, who hadn’t thrown more than 31 pitches in 11 relief appearances for the Marlins. “When he came out, I said, ‘I got four left.’ ”
Guillen sent out a lineup card Wednesday featuring four hitters whose batting averages are in the .160s — Donnie Murphy (.169), Bryan Petersen (.169), John Buck (.168) and Scott Cousins (.161).
But the Marlins put up a three-spot in the first on five singles off Ben Sheets, who came in 3-0 with a 0.50 ERA in three starts.
Carlos Lee drove in Emilio Bonifacio on a softly hit ball to right field. Greg Dobbs followed with a liner that just got past Sheets and into center field, scoring Donnie Murphy from second. Bryan Petersen made it 3-0 with a liner to right, scoring Lee from third.
After Paul Janish’s RBI single in the second, LeBlanc added to the lead with a two-out double down the left-field line, scoring Cousins from first.
Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a one-out single to center in the fifth.