MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Marlins have had a number of losses in June, 17 to be exact. The latest one might be the toughest.
The Marlins led 6-1 in the eighth inning before Heath Bell coughed up four runs in the ninth to the St. Louis Cardinals, who received RBI hits from Rafael Furcal and pinch-hitting pitcher Joe Kelly in the 10th to escape with an 8-7 victory Monday night.
“We had momentum, I went out there and blew it, plain and simple,” Bell said. “This loss is on me. I didn’t have my stuff tonight for whatever reason. I’ve been pitching good. Once in a while, this game humbles you and it’s humbled me right now.”
After halting a six-game losing streak with a win on Sunday, the Marlins have lost 16 of 19.
“Very disappointed,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “You’re pitching well and all of a sudden they score seven or eight runs. This is something you have to sleep on and come back tomorrow. It’s going to stick in your head for a little while. It’s a hard one.”
Kelly, a 24-year old rookie who is scheduled to start Wednesday, came up with the game-winning RBI as a pinch-hitter.
“I was the most nervous I could be and I was like, Man I might come up in a situation where I’ll actually have to hit,'” Kelly said.
After Furcal’s RBI double, which put the Cardinals up 7-6, Kelly eventually came to the plate to hit for reliever Victor Marte with two outs and the bases loaded to face Chad Gaudin (1-1).
“We’ve been told when he came up that he was probably going to be one of our hitters on the pitching staff,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Kelly hit a soft grounder to shortstop Jose Reyes, whose throw to first was not in time to get Kelly allowing Furcal to score an insurance run.
“I know I’m pretty fast (and I thought) I can beat this ball so I just started sprinting as fast as I could,” Kelly said.
With the Cardinals up 8-6, closer Jason Motte allowed an RBI single by John Buck with two outs, but Reyes lined out to center with two runners on to end the game.
“Unbelievable,” Matheny said. “Through some crazy stuff, guys getting out of jams, it was a great effort.”
Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer in the ninth to cap the four-run inning and tie the game at 6.
“I let everybody down, period,” Bell said.
The bottom of the ninth was highlighted with lineup controversy.
After Henley Ramirez singled with one out, Guillen came out of the dugout to dispute the Cardinals’ lineup with home plate umpire Bob Davidson. Following a 10-minute discussion among the umpires, they ruled in Guillen’s favor leaving Matheny in disagreement and prompting Tony Cruz to come off the bench to replace Allen Craig at first base.
Matheny thought the pitcher’s place in the order was the seventh spot whereas Guillen believed it was the fifth, which ended up being where Kelly delivered his pinch hit.
“Go figure that was the game-winner,” Matheny said. “It was a shame that has to be any part of the conversation about a win like that, but understandable.”
Marte (2-1) pitched 2-3 innings for the win.
The Marlins led 6-1 in the eighth before third baseman Ramirez’s two errors on a ground ball by David Freese allowed the Cardinals to cut the deficit to 6-2.
Reyes drove in runs with a double in the third and a single in the fifth.
The Cardinals pulled within 2-1 as Freese scored on a passed ball.
Miami starter Ricky Nolasco went 6 2-3 innings allowing one unearned run and striking out four.
Miami added to their lead in the seventh on consecutive bases-loaded walks issued by Eduardo Sanchez. Logan Morrison’s groundout and Greg Dobbs’ RBI single pushed the lead to 6-1 as the Marlins batted around scoring four runs on two hits and four walks.
Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook allowed two runs in six innings.
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