WASHINGTON -- Everyone inside the Marlins dugout stopped what they were doing when Emilio Bonifacio stepped to the plate in eighth inning last night. So did everyone in the Marlins bullpen, which is located behind the wall in left at Nationals Park.
Bonifacio's teammates were on edge, hoping for the hit that would extend his streak to 25 straight games. Bonifacio was down to his last strike in his final at bat. And when that hit came on a 3-2 pitch, cheers erupted inside the dugout and bullpen.
"Everyone was cheering," said reliever Randy Choate, who was in the bullpen at the time.
Said Mike Stanton, who was inside the dugout when it erupted: "It was almost like a walk-off hit."
Marlins players will tell you that it's not hard pulling for Bonifacio, who will be bidding to extend his streak to 26 straight games this afternoon. He could very well be the most likeable player inside the Marlins clubhouse.
"I think he's everybody's favorite teammate," said catcher John Buck. "He's fun to be around. Just as a person, when you see somebody like that, having success by working hard...when he's doing something as cool as this, it makes you pull for him even more. Last night, we were all on edge for him to get it, going into that last at bat."
It's not just Bonifacio's teammates who are pulling for him. Manager Jack McKeon loves what he's seeing from his leadoff hitter. McKeon was happy that Bonifacio was able to extend his hitting streak on Wednesday, but even happier that Bonifacio nursed a walk in an earlier at bat.
"It's nice," McKeon said of the streak. "But I think you guys might overlook the fact of what a team player he is. He came up in his next-to-last at bat and took a base on balls, where he could have been very selfish and just swung at anything, saying 'I got to get a hit to extend my streak.' He was very happy to take the base on balls. I think that told me something right there about the kid, that he's interested in winning and an unselfish player. We were all rooting for him the last time up, and he got the hit. Had he not got the hit, I don't think he would have been terribly disappointed, as long as we won the game."