The star third baseman will try to lead the Marlins to consecutive home wins as they continue a four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Due to brush fires that were burning in southwestern Florida, a haze hung over Dolphin Stadium during Tuesday’s game. But Cabrera seemed to put it aside with relative ease, first hitting a two-run homer to highlight a four-run fifth inning and then a walk-off single in the ninth of a 6-5 victory for the Marlins (15-17).
“I tried to shorten my swing and get a base hit all the way,” Cabrera said. “He (Jonathan Broxton) threw me a fastball away, and I got it.”
The 24-year-old Cabrera has been a difficult out with runners in scoring position over his career - with a .321 lifetime average - but he is leading the majors in 2007 with a .423 mark (11-for-26).
He is 4-for-10 with one homer lifetime against Dodgers starter Brett Tomko (0-3, 4.40 ERA), who gets the ball Wednesday for Los Angeles (19-14).
Tomko hopes to avoid the control problems that have plagued him throughout the season. The right-hander took the loss at Atlanta on Friday, when he issued a season-high six walks and gave up four runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 4-0 defeat.
“I thought I threw the ball decent,” said Tomko, who allowed his most walks since May 31, 2005, when he also walked six. “I didn’t think I was wild. I was just missing.”
Tomko has walked 17 in just 28 2-3 innings this season. He is 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA in nine starts and 12 lifetime games against the Marlins, though he will be making his first start against them since a loss on Aug. 13, 2005.
Marlins ace Dontrelle Willis (5-1, 5.44) will try to take advantage of another chance to win his third consecutive decision. The left-hander was bailed out of a losing situation by his teammates Friday after he allowed four runs - all in the sixth inning - and four hits in six innings, but the Marlins rallied for a 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres.
I think I pitched well enough to win the ballgame,” said Willis, who also issued four free passes. “I’ve got to get rid of the walks.”
Willis is 1-4 with a 7.66 ERA in five lifetime starts against the Dodgers, and was reached for four runs and seven hits with five walks in 6 2-3 innings in losing his only start against them in 2006.
He is 1-2 with a 10.50 ERA in three home starts versus Los Angeles.
Marlins first baseman Mike Jacobs may miss his second straight game due to a bruised thumb. Jacobs, who went 0-for-3 in the series opener Monday, is hitting just .220 (11-for-50) with 13 strikeouts in 13 home games.
“I’m going to have to keep an eye on it, and when it starts getting sore maybe take a day off,” he said prior to Tuesday’s game.
The Dodgers have not lost consecutive road games since opening the season with losses at Milwaukee on April 2 and 3.