The Miami Marlins hope that wins - and not what comes out of manager Ozzie Guillen's mouth - will bring out fans to their new home.
Following their first win at their new ballpark, the Marlins continue their series against the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
Returning home for the first time since Guillen's controversial comments regarding Fidel Castro, Miami (3-5) defeated Houston 5-4 in 11 innings Friday.
Before the game, the Marlins again addressed Guillen's misstep and his subsequent five-game suspension, which concludes at the end of this series, as well as the effect it could have on attendance. Announced attendance Friday was 30,169, well below the 37,442 capacity.
"Winning helps everything, right?" catcher John Buck said. "If we put a fun team on the field, people will come."
The Marlins did just that Friday. After opening the new ballpark with a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on April 4, Miami earned its first victory there and avoided a third straight loss overall when Gaby Sanchez doubled in Chris Coghlan in the 11th.
The Marlins had scored one run in each of the previous two games while hitting .169. They had 12 hits Friday, including three by Sanchez, who came in batting .125.
"It feels great," said Sanchez, a Miami native. "For me it's great that happened. I'd be just as happy for anyone else doing it."
For Houston (3-4), it was a third straight loss, although J.D. Martinez - also a Miami native - hit the first home run in the park in the eighth inning to tie the game.
Carlos Lee, who came in batting .364, went 0 for 5 and had an error. He grounded out with the bases loaded in the ninth to end the inning.
"It is a big place," Lee said. "We both hit the ball good today, and it didn't go nowhere. It's big for both teams."
Given that assessment, Carlos Zambrano may be eager to take the mound Saturday for his first start in the park.
Zambrano, looking to rejuvenate his career with the Marlins, got off to a shaky start Sunday against Cincinnati, allowing three runs in the first inning. He settled down and went six innings, giving up four runs and four hits while striking out six in a 6-5 loss. He didn't factor in the decision.
While Zambrano is adjusting to a new team, he has plenty of experience facing Houston after playing in the NL Central with Chicago. He's won his last three decisions against the Astros to improve to 16-8 with a 2.72 ERA in his career.
Lee, though, is the only current Houston player with at least 10 at-bats against Zambrano. He's 24 for 67 (.358) with five homers and six doubles in the matchup.
With three straight starters having failed to make it through six innings, Houston will turn Saturday to Bud Norris, who didn't earn a decision in his first start despite a quality outing.
Norris gave up two runs and four hits while posting eight strikeouts in seven innings of the Astros' 3-2 win over Colorado on Sunday. The right-hander hasn't had much success against the Marlins, going 1-1 with a 6.65 ERA in four starts.
Logan Morrison, who was hitting .188 for Miami entering this series, got a scheduled night off Friday but singled as a pinch-hitter. He said his slow start isn't related to offseason knee surgery, which caused him to miss most of spring training. He expects to be back in the lineup Saturday.
- Houston Astros
- Miami Marlins
- Ozzie Guillen
- Carlos Zambrano