Smith's error costly as Tribe falls to Marlins 3-2
BY TIMOTHY W. SHIRER SPORTS EDITOR
The last time the Cleveland Indians played the Miami Marlins at Progressive Field was 1997 and every Indians fans knows how that series ended. Fast forward to Friday night and things did not end any better as the Indians lost a pitchers duel to the Marlins 3-2 in front of 29,378 fans.
The Indians jumped on Marlins starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano early in the second inning. With two outs and Zambrano looking like he was going to retire the Tribe 1-2-3 in the inning, he issued a walk to Johnny Damon. Casey Kotchman, who has been heating up lately smacked a double to right field. Marlin's right fielder Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton had a hard time coming up with the ball and Damon scored all the way from first base. The Damon run put the Indians up 1-0 and they weren't done. Zambrano followed the Kotchman double by walking Jose Lopez. Zambrano then paid for not retiring Lopez when Shin-Soo choo came to the plate and singled to center field and Kotchman crossed the plate with the Indians second run. The Tribe now lead 2-0. The inning ended when the next batter Jason Kipnis just missed out on an extra base hit. Marlins first baseman Greg Dobbs made a nice diving catch at of the Kipnis line drive to put an end to the Tribe rally.
The Marlins cut the Indians lead in half in the top of the third inning when Indians starter Justin Masterson walked Bryan Peterson to start the inning. Jose Reyes then singled to right field and Peterson moved to third base. Omar Infante then came to the plate for the Marlins and hit a ground ball to Asdrubal Cabrera who threw to Kipnis to retire Reyes at second. Infante was safe at first and Peterson came home with the Marlins first run of the game. With Hanley Ramirez at batting, Infante attempted to steal second base and he was caught by Carlos Santana. Infante was the first of three Marlins that Santana picked off in the game. Masterson then got Ramirez on strikes to end the inning.
Zambrano and Masterson both settled in, but the Marlins were able to tie the game in he sixth inning. With one out in the frame Masterson issued a walk to Infante. Ramirez then hit a line drive double to left field and Infante moved to third base. The Marlins had men on the corners with one out. Gregg Dobbs came to the plate and hit a sacrifice fly to Damon in left field and Infante came home to tie the game 2-2.
The bullpen has been so good for the Tribe in 2012. The bad innings by the Indians have been few and far between. But on Friday night two bullpen pitchers worked the eight inning for the Indians and took matters into their own hands, giving the game to the Marlins. Tony Sipp who has been the weak link in the pen this season started the eighth inning in relief of Masterson. The first batter Sipp faced was Peterson and Sipp did just what he didn't want to do. Sipp Walked Peterson to put a man on for the Marlins and nobody out. Sipp then retired Reyes on sacrifice bunt. Reyes did his job though moving Peterson to second base. After the out Acta had seen enough of Sipp and opted for Joe Smith. The first hitter Smith faced was Infante. Smith got Infante to hit a ground ball right back to him on the mound. But then Smith did his best impression of a players in a kids backyard wiffle ball game as he threw the ball toward second base attempting to retire Peterson, but instead he threw the ball at Peterson it bounced off him and bounced into right field. Peterson moved to third base and Infante was safe at first. Ramirez then came to the plate and made Smith pay for his bad throw when he hit a scarifice fly to center field and Peterson came home with the run giving the Marlins the 3-2 lead.
Sipp took the loss for the Indians falling to 0-2 on the year with a 5.65 ERA. Zambrano picked up the win for Miami. Zambrano pitched seven innings for the Marlins. In the seven inning Zambrano allowed two runs. He allowed four hits, issued five walks and struck out two Indians hitters. With the win Zambrano improves to 2-2 with an ERA of 1.96. Heath Bell got the save for the Marlins it was Bell's fourth save of the season. Masterson pitched well for the Indians getting a no decision. In seven innings Masterson allowed two runs on six base hits. He walked three Marlins and struck out five.
The Indians and Marlins will continue their three game series on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at Progressive Field. Jeanmar Gomez will make the start for the Indians. Gomez comes into the start with a 2-2 record and a 3.75 ERA. Anibal Sanchez will be on the mound for the Marlins. Sanchez is 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA.