Marlins Take Three of Four From Rockies, Bullpen Screws J.J. Again

Another stellar performance from Josh Johnson, another blown lead by the bullpen. Another pinch-hitter, another walk-off win for Florida. Such are the misadventures of your Florida Marlins, who took game four of their series against the Colorado Rockies this afternoon with a 3-2 win. As for JJ's chance at another win, it's as they say in the Kevin Costner baseball flick Bull Durham: "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Or was that Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? Either way, a win is a win, even if it will eventually cost your ace pitcher a much-deserved Cy Young award. 

Today's game had a first-pitch start time of 12:10, presumably because the Marlins wanted to see what it's like to play on the surface of the sun. And on this 89-degree day at the appropriately named Sun Life Stadium, JJ struck out 11 Rockies in 6 1/3 innings of absolute ballstastic work. The one run Johnson gave up was a second inning homer by Ian Stewart, who for some reason always morphs into Stan Musial whenever he plays the Fish.

Johnson left the game with a 2-1 lead and said "I'm quite anxious to see how the bullpen blows my lead today!" as he walked off the mound, probably. 

Sure enough, Clay Hensley came on in relief and gave up the tying RBI to Jason Giambi in the eighth. Leo Nunez then came in and struck out three Rockies, preserving the tie and setting himself up for the win. 

In the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio picked a great time to hit his first triple of the season. Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Cacin then intentionally walked Cody Ross and Mike Stanton to load the bases. Catcher Ronny Paulino then swung at the first pitch he saw, singling in Bonifacio for the walk-off win, and giving the kids in attendance on "camp day" a nice memory, as well as saving them from dying of heat-stroke in extra innings. It's all about the kids, really.

This was the second game this week the Marlins won a game thanks to a pinch-hitter. As for JJ, he has now gone 13 starts where he has not allowed more than two runs -- that's the longest since Greg Maddux did it in 1995. And thanks to today's brilliant performance, JJ has lowered his ERA to 1.61. But, thanks to the bullpen refusing to preserve leads for Johnson, the no-decisions are piling up, which could cost him a Cy Young. Nice going, jerks!

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