MIAMI — Two big innings and two-out hits cost Ricky Nolasco in his season finale for the Marlins.
Nolasco gave up five runs as he labored through five innings in his 31st start of the year, a 9-5 defeat at the hands of the Phillies in front of 30,202 at Marlins Park on Saturday night.
“I got beat,” Nolasco said. “They gave me a ton of at-bats where they grinded, and kept getting good at-bats and good at-bats. They ended up winning the key battles. ”
Nolasco got off to a quick start, needing just 10 pitches to get through the first inning. Things didn’t get easier for the righty after that, though. He needed 40 pitches to get through the second inning, as the Phillies tagged him for two runs after Miami plated three in the first.
Twelve of Nolasco’s 40 pitches in the inning were fouled off by the Phillies, while the big hit in the frame came with two outs, when Pete Orr smacked a two-run double to right-center field.
“After the second inning I felt like I already threw six [innings],” Nolasco said. “They just flat out grinded out at-bats and did a great job at the plate.”
Nolasco’s rough outing, which required 100 pitches, came to an end after the fifth, when Philadelphia scored three more to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The inning started out ominously for Nolasco. He had two strikes on Roy Halladay before the Phillies starter reached on a swinging bunt that stayed fair down the third-base line.
Jimmy Rollins followed with a single, and Chase Utley tied the game with a two-run single. The Phillies got their third two-out RBI of the night two batters later when Domonic Brown hit an RBI triple.
“It was a pretty tough day for [Nolasco] today,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He battled, every time he threw a strike they fouled a lot of balls off and he couldn’t finish off a couple hitters. It was a bad day for him.”
Nolasco finished his season at 12-13 with a 4.48 ERA, while making each of his scheduled starts. Despite the sour ending, he was relatively pleased with his season overall.
“Obviously this last start kind of changed some things numbers-wise, but I was healthy, rebounded and I’m just looking forward to next year,” Nolasco said. “The only thing I ask for every year is to stay healthy, make all my starts, and I was able to do that and keep my team in games as much as possible.”
The five runs off Nolasco negated another big night from Giancarlo Stanton, who drove in three runs and added his 36th homer of the season.
Stanton picked up two RBIs while the Marlins built their early lead and forced Halladay to throw 31 pitches in the first inning. Miami loaded the bases with no outs before Stanton singled to center to plate two.
The Marlins made it a 3-0 game on Rob Brantly’s RBI single.
“I felt like after that it got better,” said Halladay, who threw five innings and improved to 11-8 on the year. “It would have been nice to start without that first inning. From then on I felt like things were a lot better. I felt like mechanically they were better, and location they were better.”
After the Phillies made it a one-run game in the second, Stanton came through again against Halladay. The slugger launched a 411-foot solo shot to left field to lead off the frame. The home run gave Stanton homers in back-to-back home games for the first time since June 30 and July 1, also against the Phillies.
“Every time this kid is at the plate he’s in scoring position,” Guillen said. “I don’t want long ones, I want a lot of [home runs], and I got both — a lot and long ones.”
The Phillies scored four more runs against the Marlins’ bullpen in the final three innings. Stanton nearly sparked a late comeback for the Marlins. He led off the eighth with a strikeout, but reached on a wild pitch and advanced to second on a throwing error by Carlos Ruiz. Two walks later, the Marlins had the bases loaded with no outs.
Gil Velazquez cut the deficit to three runs with a one-out single, scoring Stanton, but the rally ended when Austin Kearns struck out on a wild pitch and Carlos Lee was thrown out at home on the play.
The Marlins stranded three more in the ninth after they brought the tying run to the plate with one out, but Lee popped out to second base and Greg Dobbs struck out to end a game that eclipsed the four-hour mark and saw a combined 13 pitchers throw 386 pitches.
“Very ugly game today,” Guillen said. “Very boring, crazy game. A long one. A lot of 3-2 counts on both sides, and a lot of guys threw a lot of pitches. They won, they made the best out of a bad day.”
By Tom Green / MLB.com