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Let's Play Two!! (Marlins win Game 1, 8-6)

MARLINS WIN -- Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for his 10th save and the Marlins take the first game of the DH, 8-6. Last time the Marlins won both ends of a doubleheader was May 28, 2003, when they knocked off the Montreal Expos in a twinbill at Dolphin Stadium, or whatever they were calling the place back then.


BOT 7 -- The "Cody, Cody, Cody" chant goes out after Cody Ross clobbers his sixth home run of the season. That puts the Marlins back up by a couple, 8-6. Kensing is through after two innings, which means he won't be starting the second game of the DH. That pitcher remains a mystery, though the Marlins have one of their minor-leaguers -- believed to be from the Triple A Isotopes -- on standby at the stadium.


TOP 7 -- Unbelievable! Molina has just doubled again, driving in Randy Winn to make it 7-6. That's it for Molina, though. Giants manager Bruce Bochy sent in Steve Holm to pinch-run for him. Molina is now 4 for 4 today (with three doubles), 7 for 9 in the series, and 17 for 28 (.607) against the Marlins over the past two seasons. Highly doubtful he'll go back out to catch the second game of the doubleheader, so the Marlins don't have to look at him again until they get to San Francisco in August. Giants failed to score, though, so you wonder if Bochy is second-guessing himself, especially if Molina's turn comes up again.


BOT 6 -- Vizquel, who is playing in his 2,583rd game at shortstop to tie Luis Aparacio's major league Vizquel record, has won 11 Gold Gloves. But he just booted Logan Kensing's routine grounder up the middle for his first error of the season. The Giants media person just noted that Vizquel was also charged with an error in his very first ML game.



BOT 5 -- Ka-Ching! $$$$$$ Can you hear the arbitration cash register ringing now for Dan Uggla? He just went deep, a two-run dinger that gives the Marlins a 7-5 lead. It is his 16th home run of the Uggla season, which ties him with Houston's Lance Berkman for the major league lead, and his 12th in May, most ever hit by a Marlin in any month. He had been tied with Gary Sheffield, who put 11 out in April, 1996, for the Fish. Uggla's blast is no cheapie, measured at 433 feet to left-center. It's also Uggla's first home run this season off a left-hander. The crowd demands a curtain call, and Uggla obliges by emerging from the dugout with a quick wave.


TOP 5 -- Molina doubled AGAIN. He is now 3-for-3 on the day, 6-for-8 in the series, and 16-for-27 against the Marlins the past two seasons. But the Giants were unable to score. Still 5-5.


BOT 4 -- The rain shower was brief and the delay lasted only 29 minutes. Hendrickson doubled and now has eight hits in 22 at bats (.364).  That's seven more hits than he had in 27 at bats last season for the Dodgers and three more hits than he had in his entire, 62 at-bat career coming into the season. But his double went to waste. The Marlins failed to score in the inning.


TOP 4 -- Mark Hendrickson was teetering on disaster but escaped. After giving up a double to Denker (his first big-league hit), a single to Misch the pitcher, and walking Omar Vizquel to load the bases, he received a visit from pitching coach Mark Wiley while Logan Kensing started warming in the bullpen. But he got Jose Castillo to bounce into an inning-ending double play. AND THEN THE RAINS CAME. THE TARP IS OUT.


BOT 3 -- Looks like we're in for a long, long day. Misch had his own two-out difficulties in the third. After second baseman Travis Denker muffed a possible double play grounder, setting up runners at second and third with two outs, Misch walked Dan Uggla intentionally (wise moving considering the month Uggla is enjoying), but then walked Luis Gonzalez unintentionally to force in a run. The trouble didn't end there for Misch, who was then called for a balk when he stepped off the rubber after touching the ball inside his glove. That forced in another run, making it 5-5. Let's see. My clock shows 2:20, and we've only played three. Plus, just looked out to the west, where storm clouds are forming. Just what we need.


TOP 3 -- Fredi must be muttering to himself in the dugout. Bengie Molina, the human thorn to the Marlins, did it again. He ripped a two-out double into the gap in right-center, scoring a pair of runs and giving the Giants a 4-3 lead. That makes Mlolina 5 for 7 in the series so far. Hendrickson was, however, able to keep Rowand in Miami-Dade County this time. But Rowand singled over the head of Luis Gonzalez in left to drive in the slow-footed Molina from second, making it 5-3. Hendrickson finally gets out of the inning, but he is now up to 60 pitches -- 46 over the past two innings -- which is not what the pitching doctor ordered on this doubleheader day.


TOP 2 -- So much for that 3-0 cushion. Bengie Molina singles up the middle to start the inning and Aaron Rowand deposits an 0-1 pitch into the upper deck in left. Fredi Gonzalez was telling reporters before the game how the Molina brothers -- Bengie and Yadier -- are "always killing us."

          He's right. Bengie Molina, who went 3 for 5 with a home run on Friday, has now gone 14 for 25 with a pair of homers against the Marlins during the brief time Gonzalez has been manager. The Cardinals' Yadier is 5 for 15 with a home run over the same period.

          Hendrickson recovers after the Rowand bomb to retire the next three batters. 3-2 Marlins.


BOT 1 -- Lefty Pat Misch is on the hill for the Giants and looking for his first major league win. Scott Olsen was telling me before the game that Misch showed him around Kalamazoo and campus when he was considering Western Michigan University. Olsen ended up going in the draft instead.

         Not a good start for Misch. He walked Hanley Ramirez, who is mired in a 2 for 24 slump, and gave up a homer to Jeremy Hermida on a 3-2 pitch. Misch is taking his time, and the Giants infielders are looking restless.

         Jorge Cantu followed Hermida's home run with one of his own. Marlins up 3-0. No outs. It's the sixth time this season the Marlins have gone back-to-back.



Top 1 -- A good, quick inning for Hendrickson, who needed just 14 pitches to set the Giants down in order.


             The Marlins are walking a tightrope with their pitchers this afternoon. Burke Badenhop, who had his start last night washed out by the rain, could throw an inning or two if necessary. Doug Waechter could also provide an inning despite going 3 2/3 on Friday. Even Scott Olsen might see action. Olsen is scheduled for his routine between-starts bullpen. But he'll wait to see how Game 1 goes first. If it looks like the Marlins might need him, he'll skip the bullpen and prepare himself for a possible relief appearance.

            If the situation turns drastic, the Marlins could be forced to use a position player on the mound. Those that could be considered, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez, include outfielder Cody Ross and infielder Robert Andino.

           "I even hate to think about it, because it's not a fun thing," Gonzalez said. "If it gets to that point, you almost wish to say, 'Hey, we give (up).' But I guess you can't do that."


              Let the long day begin. The Marlins and Giants are set to hook up in an afternoon doubleheader, the result of Saturday's rainout. It'll mark the 28th doubleheader in club history for the Marlins. Their record: five sweeps, 16 splits and six losses.

              Memory_lane The last doubleheader played at Dolphin Stadium was on Sept. 26, 2004, against the Chicago Cubs. The result was a split. Interestingly, the opponent for the Marlins' very first doubleheader was the San Francisco Giants, played June 1, 1993. That, too, resulted in a split.

             Here are today's Game 1 lineups:

             Marlins: SS Hanley Ramirez, RF Jeremy Hermida, 3B Jorge Cantu, 1B Wes Helms, 2B Dan Uggla, LF Luis Gonzalez, CF Cody Ross, C Mike Rabelo, P Mark Hendrickson.

             Giants: SS Omar Vizquel, 3B Jose Castillo, RF Randy Winn, C Bengie Molina, CF Aaron Rowand, 1B Rich Aurilia, 2B Travis Denker, LF Daniel Ortmeier, P Pat Misch.




              The Marlins have played in 27 doubleheaders. They have swept five, been swept in six, and split 16.

               Last was on June 5, 2007, at Atlanta, split. Last at Dolphin Stadium was Sept. 26, 2004, vs. Chicago Cubs, which they split.