HOUSTON, TX (CBSMiami/AP) — Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was certainly happy to end the road trip with a win against the Houston Astros Thursday after a 12th-inning hit by Omar Infante.
More exciting for him, though, was the performance of starter Josh Johnson and former closer Heath Bell Wednesday night.
Infante’s bases-loaded two RBI single in the 12th inning lifted the Marlins to a 5-3 win over the Astros.
Before that, Johnson rebounded from two straight tough outings by allowing four hits and two runs with six strikeouts in seven innings.
Bell, who was demoted from the closer spot last week, allowed a hit in a scoreless 10th.
“I think the best news I saw was Bell and J.J. throwing the ball outstanding,” Guillen said. “To me that was very important. I wanted those guys to go out there and have some success.”
Guillen demoted Bell, a three-time All-Star, after he blew his fourth save in seven opportunities on Friday. He hopes Bell will pitch well enough to earn his job back soon.
“I want to see him throw the ball the way he did today with confidence,” Guillen said. “I believe we’re a better ball club with him as a closer.”
Bell didn’t have much to say about his performance and wouldn’t say when he expects to close again.
“I want my job back, it’s up to Ozzie when I get my job back,” Bell said.
Logan Morrison singled in the 12th before a walk by Giancarlo Stanton. Greg Dobbs grounded into a force out at second and left runners on the corners. Reliever David Carpenter (0-2) walked John Buck with two outs to load the bases and set up Infante’s game-winner.
The victory improved the Marlins to 8-1 on their nine-game road trip.
Ryan Webb (2-1) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.
The Marlins had runners at first and second with no outs in the 10th after a single by Hanley Ramirez and Jed Lowrie’s second error of the game, which allowed Morrison to reach. But closer Brett Myers retired the next three Marlins to escape the jam.
Brian Bogusevic tied it at 3-all with an RBI single off Steve Cishek with two outs in the ninth inning.
Carlos Lee got things going in that inning when he hit his first triple of the year on a ball hit just out of reach of a diving Stanton in right field with one out in the ninth inning. Cishek walked Chris Johnson on four pitches with two outs before Bogusevic’s hit. Matt Downs grounded out to send it to the 10th.
The Marlins trailed 2-1 after a solo homer by Johnson in the second inning.
John Buck and Jose Reyes both had run-scoring singles in the fourth to put Miami up 3-2.
Reyes drew a leadoff walk before scoring on an error by Lowrie with one out. Lowrie missed a ball hit by Ramirez and the ball rolled into the outfield to allow Reyes to stroll home and give Miami a 1-0 lead.
It was the first time in the series that they’d scored on anything but a home run, after hitting five combined in the previous two games, but failing to get much else going on offense.
Jordan Schafer broke a 0 for 15 skid with a double in the first for the Astros. He scored after Buck, the catcher, had an error following a wild pitch. Schafer also doubled in the fifth and finished 4 for 5.
Houston starter Lucas Harrell allowed six hits and three runs — two earned — in 5 1-3 innings.
Things got testy in the seventh inning when reliever Wilton Lopez plunked Ramirez on the left arm. Lopez and Ramirez and catcher Chris Snyder were jawing as an umpire escorted Ramirez to first base. Lopez was then replaced by Wesley Wright, but didn’t leave the field until using a hand signal apparently meant to mock the Marlins.
Last season, Bonifacio and Infante began using the same hand signal, making a sideways ‘V’ with their fingers across their eyes, to mean ‘lo viste?’ in Spanish or ‘see that?,’ after good plays.
Lopez refused comment after the game, but manager Brad Mills spoke about the beaning.
“There was no way we were trying to hit him there,” Mills said. “The ball just got up and away from him. There was absolutely no intent.”
Lopez didn’t stop once he was off the field, making the gesture several more times from the dugout while eyeing Ramirez.
Both managers came out separately to talk to the umpire before Morrison grounded out to end the inning.
Reyes made the gesture with a smile after a single in the 11th inning.
Guillen didn’t think the incident was that big of a deal.
“Very mature,” he said with a laugh when asked about it. “That’s all I can say. Very mature. He’s lucky I wasn’t Hanley. I would have chased (him) all the way to Puerto Rico. But that’s part of the game. He’s a kid.”