Ozzie Guillen reached his boiling point. Not long after predicting to reporters that it was a matter of time before he lost his cool — “pretty soon” he told them hours before Tuesday’s game — Guillen did just that.
Only Guillen didn’t unload on his collapsing Marlins in a clubhouse outburst, as he suggested he might. He took out his growing frustration on home plate umpire Dan Bellino in the seventh inning of a 5-2 defeat to the Cardinals, in full view of everyone, and earned his first ejection as Marlins manager.
Guillen took offense to Bellino’s strike zone.
The Marlins merely took it on the chin. Again.
Their June nose dive, now approaching terminal velocity, continued unabated at Marlins Park after Carlos Zambrano gave up five first-inning runs — all of them unearned because of his own throwing error and another charged to Jose Reyes on a one-hop rocket shot by Allen Craig.
“We lost the game, and that’s the most important thing,” Zambrano said.
Once again, the Marlins were unable to figure out Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse, resulting in the 18th loss in their 23 games so far this month. It was Lohse who helped to spoil the Marlins’ inaugural game in their new ballpark by taking a no-hitter into the seventh.
The Marlins fared only slightly better Tuesday, and only because Giancarlo Stanton made solid contact off Lohse. He crushed a solo home run off the batter’s eye in center that was measured at 454 feet and scored the Marlins’ second run in the fourth after opening the inning with a double.
But his two hits represented half of the Marlins’ grand total against Lohse, who pitched into the eighth before the Cardinals bullpen took over and preserved the win.
One night after the Marlins fell apart in the ninth and 10th innings of an 8-7 loss, it was the first inning that did them in Tuesday.
“I think the first inning was like a carryover from [Monday] night’s game,” Guillen said.
With one out and a runner on first, Zambrano fielded Matt Holliday’s ground ball and fired quickly toward second base in hopes of starting a double play. But he fired too quickly, before Reyes reached the bag to take the throw, and the ball sailed into center field for an error.
“As a veteran, I think I have to be focused on throwing the ball well and secure [at least] one out,” Zambrano said.
“I was too quick to second base. It was my fault there.”
After Carlos Beltran followed with an RBI single, Craig smashed a sharp one-hopper to Reyes that glanced off the shortstop’s glove to score one more run. The score turned to 5-0 on Yadier Molina’s three-run homer.
“Obviously, when you make a mistake and Mr. Molina comes up to the plate, you’re in a bad situation, and he will make you pay,” Guillen said.
Other than Stanton’s 17th home run, which came in the bottom of the first, the Marlins did very little after that. But Zambrano settled down and managed to pitch into the seventh, the first time since June 3 that he was able to last longer than five innings.
“No matter how good you pitch, it’s another loss,” Guillen said.
Guillen lost his temper in the seventh when he disagreed with Bellino’s ball-four call on a pitch the manager thought should have been strike three. The result was his first ejection of the season.
“I don’t think [Bellino] understand what I said,” Guillen said, making fun of his own speech. “He looked at me like I was an alien or something.”
But once Guillen had a chance to look at the replay, he saw the umpire made the right call.
“After I see the replay, I was wrong,” Guillen said. “From the dugout I thought it was a better pitch. I think it was a very close pitch, but I was wrong. At least I’m honest.”