Florida plays spoiler as Marlins beat Rockies 7-6
DENVER (AP)—The Florida Marlins have been eliminated from the postseason.
They didn’t play like it.
Jeremy Hermida drove in three runs and Dontrelle Willis won for the second time in his last 20 starts as the last-place Marlins dealt a blow to the Colorado Rockies’ wild-card hopes with a 7-6 win Friday night.
“I know we’re not playing for anything,” Willis said. “But we actually are—pride. I know they’re looking toward the next series (Los Angeles), but they need to look toward ours.”
The Rockies lost consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 27-28 at San Francisco, and dropped farther behind the NL wild-card leading San Diego Padres, who beat San Francisco in 10 innings. The Rockies trail by 3 1/2 games.
“It’s tough to lose games right now,” Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. “It’s frustrating to lose at this time of the year.”
Willis (9-15) knows all about the frustration that comes with losing. It was his first win since Aug. 14 against Arizona.
The lefty labored through six innings, giving up seven hits and walking four. The Rockies remain the only NL team to have never beaten Willis as he improved to 3-0 lifetime against Colorado.
Willis had two hits, including an RBI triple in the fourth.
“Outstanding,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Willis’ performance. “Not only pitching-wise, but all around. A throwback-type performance.”
Willis was almost as excited about his near stolen base as with the long-awaited win. He thought he had the sixth-inning theft—the first of his career—before being called out.
“I have to look at the tape,” he said. “I really wanted that, too. I thought I had a good jump.”
Just before he tried to steal second, Willis had a brief conversation with Colorado first baseman Todd Helton.
“I told Helton, ‘It’s nice to see you guys in the race,”’ Willis said. “They have a great team. Hopefully, we can come in here and give them some trouble.”
The Marlins did just that by capitalizing on timely hitting.
Matt Treanor’s double to left in the seventh broke a 5-5 tie. In the next inning, Hermida hustled out a potential double-play grounder to allow an insurance run to score.
“I knew I better get going,” said Hermida, whose solo homer in the fifth was his 17th of the season. “I was fortunate to beat it out. I knew that run was big.”
Willis said he wasn’t sweating out another potential win going down the drain.
“Gregg has been awesome all year long,” he said.
Matt Herges (4-1) gave up two runs and four hits in the seventh inning. He called it a lesson learned—don’t leave his pitches up in the zone.
“This game left me with a sour taste,” Herges said. “It’s as bad as it gets.”
It was Baker’s first start since suffering a mild concussion on Aug. 10 when Cubs starter Jason Marquis hit him in the helmet with a pitch.
Josh Fogg lasted five innings, giving up four runs and five hits. He also had his first RBI of the season when he singled in Jamey Carroll with two outs in the fourth. The 170-pound Carroll ran through Treanor, a 210-pound catcher, to score.
Both sides pointed to the same at-bat as the game changer. With one out and the bases loaded in the sixth, Willis got Tulowitzki to hit into an inning-ending double play started by second baseman Dan Uggla.
“Momentum swinger,” Willis said. “Turning point of the ballgame.”
Hurdle said it was a “big swing inning.”
The count on Tulowitzki was 3-1, too.
“I thought it was a good pitch,” he said. “I hit it hard. I hit it right on him.”
Tulowitzki’s double down the left-field line in the third scored two runs, giving him 86 RBIs. Since 1957, the only rookie shortstop with more RBIs than Tulowitzki was Nomar Garciaparra, who drove in 98 runs for Boston in 1997.
Yet that mattered little to him after the game.
“It was frustrating not to be able to drive in runs in the sixth,” he said.
For the Marlins, with postseason hopes long since faded, a win against a team like Colorado is as good as it gets.
“We’re playing a playoff-caliber team,” Willis said. “We’re trying to come here and play spoiler.”
Holliday has homered in five of his last six games. … Carroll snapped an 0-for-24 streak by going 3-for-4 with two doubles. … Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins had two singles, was hit by a pitch and walked.