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Marlins, Sanchez struggle in loss to Brewers

September 24, 2010

MILWAUKEE — It was a rough night for Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez. Things weren’t much easier for his teammates at the plate against Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo.

Sanchez (12-11) allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings of work, while surrendering a season-high 10 hits to the Brewers as the Marlins lost, 8-3, on Thursday night at Miller Park.

Through four innings, however, things didn’t look so bad for Sanchez, as he looked to be putting together a strong outing and his team trailed by just one run.

All-Star right fielder Corey Hart got things started for the Brewers with a first-inning home run — his 30th of the season — while adding a pair of singles in the third and fifth innings, as he put together a 3-for-5 night with two RBIs.

That run would be the only one allowed by Sanchez through four innings. He surrendered two more in the fifth, but his manager still thought he was pitching well at that point.

“Anibal, I think he was good in the first five innings,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “Then he ran into bad luck with bloopers and then a soft line drive, and then he got himself in trouble. When you’re facing an offensive team like Milwaukee, they take advantage of everything.”

The Brewers did just that in the sixth. Casey McGehee led off with a single and Sanchez hit Mat Gamel with a pitch, putting two on with none out. Following a flyout to left, Luis Cruz blooped one in for a single to center, loading the bases for Gallardo.

Despite Sanchez’s best efforts against the Brewers starter, he added a single to left, which drove in two runs and proved to be the end of the night for the Marlins right-hander.

“[Gallardo’s] a pretty good hitter, too,” Sanchez said. “My slider’s my best pitch. I threw it to him and he made contact.”

Sanchez did not escape a single inning without allowing a hit, despite holding the Brewers to just one run through four. The loss was the third in Sanchez’s past four starts, as he’s posted a 6.95 ERA, while allowing 17 runs on 26 hits in 22 innings of work.

When asked about Sanchez’s poor numbers in September, Rodriguez attributed them to Sanchez being “overworked,” while adding his thoughts about Sanchez’s season as a whole.

“If the season is over today, I would say Anibal Sanchez had a great season,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been pitching very, very well. Just for the fact that he’s healthy and he’s throwing — that’s good news.”

On the mound for the Brewers, Gallardo delivered 6 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on seven hits while walking two and recording nine strikeouts.

The Marlins’ No. 1-6 hitters particularly struggled, combining to go 3-for-19 against Gallardo, with six strikeouts and one RBI.

“The main thing for me is getting ahead — starting off with strike one,” Gallardo said. “That opens everything up for you to throw your slider, curveball, and it gets them to swing early.”

“We’re still trying to figure out what pitch that was,” Rodriguez said of the pitch that got rookie Logan Morrison to swing and miss. “It was either a changeup or a split-finger. Morrison came into the dugout saying, ‘I had no chance on that pitch.’

“That’s why he’s one of the best in the league.”

Gallardo (14-7) was shutting out the Marlins through six innings while limiting them to just four hits. In the seventh, the bottom of the order sparked a rally, as Mike Stanton and Brad Davis recorded back-to-back singles and scored on a Cameron Maybin single which was misplayed by Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain for an error.

Morrison proved to be the final batter faced by Gallardo, who walked the Marlins left fielder. Capping off the inning, Dan Uggla added the Marlins’ third run with a single off reliever Kameron Loe, scoring Maybin from third base.

Right-hander Sandy Rosario made his Major League debut in the seventh inning, and the Brewers welcomed him with back-to-back homers. On his first pitch in the big leagues, Rosario surrendered a solo homer to Rickie Weeks. Two pitches later, Prince Fielder went deep with his 31st of the season.

An inning after the offense managed to pull the Marlins back within two runs, Rosario’s rough debut put the game out of reach.

With the seventh-inning rally proving to be for naught, the highlight of the game for the Marlins ended up being Morrison’s walk. With the free pass, Morrison extended his streak to 42 consecutive games in which he has reached base safely, tying him with Mark Teixeira for the longest such streak in the Majors this season.

Afterward, though, Morrison was more disappointed about the team’s loss and less interested in talking about his own personal accomplishments.

“It would’ve felt better if we won the game,” Morrison said. “I don’t really know what to say about that. We didn’t win the game today, and I didn’t make a play for Anibal I needed to make that kind of blew the game open, and we weren’t able to come back from it.”

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