For the eighth consecutive game the Marlins failed to score more than three runs. This time though, they did not need to.
Despite Miami having nearly squandered an eight-inning, one-run performance by starter Mark Buehrle (13-13), Carlos Lee hit a walk-off single in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies to win 2-1 and break his team’s seven-game losing streak.
“In that situation all I was trying to do was stay back and hit the ball to the middle, the big part of the field,” said Carlos Lee, who was mobbed by his teammates after his hit to left-center. “We know we’re out of it, but [our fans] deserve for us to give our best effort every day.”
That hit and a fourth-inning solo home run by Giancarlo Stanton — his 35th of the year — was all the Marlins needed to get their final homestand of the year off to a winning start and eliminate the Phillies from playoff contention..
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Left-handers Buehrle and Cliff Lee were engaged in a pitchers’ duel for much of the game — each allowed just one run — but in the end it was relief pitcher Steve Cishek who came away with the victory.
Buehrle’s eight innings meant that he met his goal of 200 innings this season, a mark he has reached each of the past 12 years.
“I’m not surprised,” Guillen said, who previously managed him with the White Sox. “I’ve seen him day in and day out for the last 10 years. He’s made me look good every five days.”
Buehrle said he was glad that he had reached the milestone but did not seem to revel much in the accomplishment.
“I wish I had more wins and I wish the team played better,” Buehrle said. “I felt like I had a decent season but obviously not good enough because we did not end up where we wanted to be.”
After getting out of the three-hit second inning without surrendering a run, Buehrle was lights out for the next five innings, retiring the next 14 batters in succession.
Although Guillen had been tempted to rest the injured Stanton for the rest of the season, his decision to bring him back for the homestand paid off.
Stanton, who had already doubled earlier in the night, got the Marlins on the scoreboard with a solo home run with two outs in the fourth inning. The 419-foot blast to left field was his 35th of the year, a new career high for the rising star.
Clinging to the 1-0 lead late in the game, Buehrle encountered some trouble in the eighth inning when John Mayberry Jr. hit a lead-off double down the left-field line and was batted in by Jimmy Rollins to tie the score 1-1.
Stanton finished the game 2 for 3 and was intentionally walked immediately before Lee’s game-winning single.
Even though he has missed more than 35 games this season with injuries, Stanton now stands in second place among National League home-run hitters.
“This kid has got the opportunity to be one of the best players in the game because he has a lot of tools besides power,” Guillen said.