The Miami Marlins opened interleague play on a positive note, but might have lost a key player for the immediate future in the process.
With the status of speedster Emilio Bonifacio uncertain, the Marlins continue their weekend series with the Cleveland Indians on Saturday at Progressive Field.
Carlos Zambrano continued his resurgence with his new team by throwing seven solid innings to help Miami (21-18) snap Cleveland's four-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory Friday. The Marlins improved to 13-4 this month after losing eight of nine to conclude April.
"We come to play hard every game and everything is fun with this ballclub," said Zambrano, 2-2 with a 1.96 ERA.
Hanley Ramirez had one of his team's six hits and delivered a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to help the Marlins improve to an NL-best 136-117 in interleague play. Ramirez is batting .366 with 14 RBIs in his last 11 games against AL opponents.
The Marlins are 7-3 against the Indians since beating them in seven games to win the 1997 World Series.
If Miami is to continue its interleague success, it might have to do it without Bonifacio, who strained his left thumb Friday while diving back to first base on a pick-off attempt. His club record of 20 straight successful stolen bases ended when he was thrown out moments later.
Bonifacio is batting .394 in his last nine games.
"We're going to wait day to day to see what he has," manager Ozzie Guillen told the Marlins' official website. "We have to wait to see where he is (Saturday)."
After Zambrano gave up two runs and four hits, the Marlins turn to Anibal Sanchez (2-1, 2.28 ERA), who allowed three runs in seven innings but suffered his first defeat of the season Monday, a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh.
The Marlins have totaled 12 runs in Sanchez's last five starts.
"What can I do? Just continue to pitch (well) and wait for run support,'' Sanchez said. "They want to score some runs. I never have complaints about the hitters not giving me run support."
Sanchez is 3-2 with a 3.70 ERA in eight interleague starts, but has never faced Cleveland.
The AL Central-leading Indians (22-17) totaled 25 runs and 42 hits during a four-game winning streak, but were held in check for the most part Friday.
Shin-Soo Choo, who singled and drove in a run, is batting .405 with eight RBIs in his last 11 interleague home games.
Cleveland's Jeanmar Gomez (2-2, 3.75) takes the mound against the Marlins for the time Saturday looking to build on one of his best outings of the season.
The right-hander allowed a season-high eight runs in 6 2-3 innings of an 8-1 loss to Chicago on May 9, but gave up only one unearned run and three hits in seven innings of the Indians' 5-4 win at Minnesota on Monday, though he didn't get a decision.
"It's always more important when it's a young guy that's fighting his way up here at the back of the rotation," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "He's pitched so well since spring training. (The White Sox game) was his roughest outing. I'm sure that (Monday) is going to be very good for his confidence."