Marlins: Ballpark Wins, Team Loses
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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins have lost their first game against a major league team in their brand spanking new ballpark.
Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher each had two hits, Robinson Cano drove in two runs and the New York Yankees beat Miami 10-8 on Sunday in the first exhibition game between the two clubs at Marlins Park.
CC Sabathia tuned up for Friday’s opening day start at Tampa Bay, allowing four hits and three runs in four innings. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera gave up a run in his inning of work, the first time he allowed a spring training earned run since April 15, 2008.
Giancarlo Stanton had two hits and two RBIs and Gaby Sanchez homered for the Marlins, who host the Yankees again Monday in the final dress rehearsal for their new $515 million park before Wednesday’s season-opener against St. Louis.
Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco gave up eight hits and seven earned runs in 5 2-3 innings, his spring ERA rising to 5.47.
Jeter doubled off Nolasco on the game’s first pitch and Swisher hit his first homer of the spring. Maybe most importantly for the Yankees, Sabathia — who said he had difficulty locating his fastball — pronounced himself ready for the season.
“Always the biggest issue for me is my fastball command,” Sabathia said. “It wasn’t there today, but there’s no reason for me to feel like it won’t be there Friday.”
The Yankees gave up three in the seventh as the Marlins pulled into an 8-all tie, then went ahead for good when Bill Hall led off the ninth with a double off Chad Gaudin and scored one batter later on Eric Chavez’s double.
Pinch-runner Ramiro Pena later scored an insurance run on a wild pitch.
It was the fourth event in the building, preceded last month by a high school game and then Marlins games against two college opponents.
A painter applied another coat of white to a column outside the ballpark before fans arrived. In the tunnel that wraps around the bottom of the stadium, pallets with supplies were scattered about. Outside the Marlins’ clubhouse, a team logo was awaiting installation. And a worker was busy cleaning the inside of the 450-gallon aquariums behind home plate.
So far, there are about 35 fish in each. Soon, that number will probably double, said Kevin Mathis of Living Color Aquariums.
“Very unique and distinctive, that’s for sure,” Mathis said, though Sabathia said he didn’t notice the fish from the mound.
One complaint from the Yankees: Swisher didn’t care for the infield surface.
“That infield out there is like running in sand,” said Swisher, who raved about the park otherwise.
For Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez — a Miami native — the day was particularly special. Rodriguez played two games in 2009 at the Marlins’ former home, 16 miles north of the new ballpark, but said Sunday was different.
“This is our neighborhood,” Rodriguez said. “It’s also spring training so you don’t have to go out there and put your game face. You get to go out there and really enjoy this and take it all in.”
A few minor glitches popped up. A pair of televisions in the Yankees’ clubhouse weren’t working. Some Marlins players suggested their clubhouse didn’t have enough clocks.
The ribbon board around the second-deck facade had some programming issues. (Instead of “Mark Teixeira,” for example, it showed “Baseman, Mark.” As an organ played, the same board read “Music Playing.”) One elevator needed repair, and a couple ushers acknowledged they were still learning their way around.
Marlins closer Heath Bell decided the clubhouse needed some remodeling, too.
He twisted athletic tape into a necklace and draped it over the mannequin displaying the day’s uniform scheme in the middle of the room, saying he wanted to make it look more like Hanley Ramirez. Bell then pushed a large table in the center of the clubhouse closer to an electrical outlet, so a stereo could be powered up.
“I think it’s going to be great that we have these two exhibition games, we have opening day here, then we’re gone for a week,” Bell said. “And then we come back and what doesn’t work or what we see that needs to be fixed will be.”
As for that much-discussed sculpture in center field with pink flamingos and jumping fish that lights up when the Marlins hit a home run, it stayed silent, even after Sanchez homered off Sabathia.
It won’t be put into use before Wednesday’s opener.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)