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Marlins continue wild-card push, defeat struggling Brewers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Switch-hitter Alfredo Amezaga changed his mind before his final plate appearance: He wouldn't choke up on the bat despite a 2-for-29 slump against lefties.

It worked.

Amezaga singled in the go-ahead run off Brian Shouse in the 10th inning and Florida beat Milwaukee 9-6 Saturday night to extend the Brewers' losing streak to a season-high nine games.

"Everybody says I can't hit from the right side," he said. "But in a big situation is when it's pretty important."

Marlins manager Joe Girardi called it the biggest win all year after Joe Borowski (3-2) gave up Geoff Jenkins' tying two-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Taylor Tankersley pitched the 10th for his third save in five chances.

"They're very resilient. They have lots of character, lots of heart and lots of fight in them," Girardi said. "It tells you our guys believe."

Josh Willingham, Mike Jacobs and Hanley Ramirez homered for the Marlins, who have won 11 of 13 to pull within 1½ games of the NL wild card despite subpar pitching by starter Josh Johnson.

Florida is 68-69 and trying to become the first team since 1899 to reach the .500 mark after falling 20 games below, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Marlins were 11-31 on May 21.

"I can't tell you how far it felt like in early May, but now it's right there," Willingham said. "That was a goal, once we started to get somewhat close. Now, it's right in front of us."

Borowski, who had his fifth blown save of the season, retired the first two in the ninth but Mike Rivera doubled and Jenkins hit a 1-2 pitch out to right to tie it at 6.

Willingham led off the 10th with a walk against Derrick Turnbow (4-9) and Jacobs singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. Shouse relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Cody Ross but Amezaga singled past diving second baseman Tony Graffanino to give Florida a 7-6 lead.

"It was so close," Shouse said. "Just a few inches and we're out of there. That's a bummer, a heartbreak."

Ramirez added a two-run single off reliever Dan Kolb before being thrown out trying to reach second to end the 10th.

"We can't get a break, it's a part of the game," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "Sometimes you make your own breaks and we haven't done much of that either."

Ramirez also hit a leadoff homer in the eighth, and the Marlins scored two more runs off RBI singles by Willingham and Joe Borchard to go ahead 6-4.

The Brewers had built a 3-0 lead around Graffanino, who had an RBI triple in the third. He also scored on Bill Hall's RBI single in the first and Prince Fielder's groundout in the third.

Brewers starter Ben Sheets dominated the Marlins early, and Florida didn't have a hit until Willingham's single in the fourth. But Jacobs followed with his 18th homer of the year to cut the Brewers' lead to 3-2.

Rivera hit a solo homer in the fourth for Milwaukee, and Willingham added one of his own in the sixth.

Johnson, who defeated Sheets in his previous start five days ago, struggled to find the strike zone. Johnson was leading the majors in ERA coming into the start, but it rose to 2.99 after he allowed four runs. He now trails Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter (2.87) and Minnesota's Johan Santana (2.95) in his quest to be the first rookie since Detroit's Mark Fidrych in 1976 to lead the major leagues in ERA.

Johnson was finished after six innings, allowing six hits and three walks while striking out six. Sheets allowed four hits and struck out eight.

Milwaukee's nine-game skid is its longest since it lost 12 straight in 2004.

"You think you're about to break out of it and you turn around and it socks you right in the face," Sheets said.

Notes

  • The 1899 Louisville Colonels were 16-38 before climbing back to reach .500. That team ended up two games below .500 for the season.
  • Willingham and Jacobs combined to go 5-for-7 with four runs and four RBI.
  • Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (11-9, 4.75 ERA) was scratched from Monday's start against Arizona with a sore right hamstring. RHP Brian Moehler (7-8, 6.04 ERA) will start in his place.
  • The Brewers surpassed two million fans for the third consecutive season after their 14th sellout with 44,005 in attendance.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Florida

H. Ramirez
AB 6
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Milwaukee

M. Rivera
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS6133010
Dan Uggla, 2B4100122
Miguel Cabrera, 3B5110020
Josh Willingham, LF3232200
    Reggie Abercrombie, PR-CF0100000
Mike Jacobs, 1B4222121
Miguel Olivo, C5000016
Joe Borchard, RF3011011
    Renyel Pinto, P0000000
    Chris Resop, P0000000
    Joe Borowski, P0000000
   a- Jeremy Hermida, PH0000000
   b- Robert Andino, PH1000012
    Taylor Tankersley, P0000000
Alfredo Amezaga, CF-LF5111014
Josh Johnson, P2000011
   c- Wes Helms, PH1000000
    Matt Herges, P0000000
   d- Cody Ross, PH-RF1000113
Totals40911951320 
a-announced for Borowski in the 10th
b-struck out for Hermida in the 10th
c-grounded out for Johnson in the 7th
d-struck out for Herges in the 8th
Batting
HR - Hanley Ramirez (, Capellan), Josh Willingham (, Sheets), Mike Jacobs (, Sheets)
RBI - Hanley Ramirez 3 (), Josh Willingham 2 (), Mike Jacobs 2 (), Joe Borchard (), Alfredo Amezaga ()
2-OUT RBI - Hanley Ramirez 2 (), Mike Jacobs 2 (), Alfredo Amezaga ()
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Josh Willingham 1
DP - H. Ramirez, Uggla-H. Ramirez-Jacobs
E - Joe Borchard (, )
Florida Marlins
Josh Johnson 6644361
Matt Herges 1100010
Renyel Pinto (H,) 0.1000100
Chris Resop (H,) 0.2000000
Joe Borowski (BS,; W,-) 1222011
Taylor Tankersley (S,) 1000120
Pitches-Strikes - Josh Johnson 111-61, Matt Herges 14-8, Renyel Pinto 9-4, Chris Resop 5-3, Joe Borowski 19-14, Taylor Tankersley 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Johnson 6-5, Renyel Pinto 1-0, Chris Resop 1-0, Joe Borowski 1-1, Taylor Tankersley 1-0
Batters Faced - Josh Johnson 26, Matt Herges 3, Renyel Pinto 2, Chris Resop 1, Joe Borowski 5, Taylor Tankersley 4
Milwaukee Brewers
Corey Hart, RF-CF5110031
Tony Graffanino, 2B4221101
Prince Fielder, 1B5011011
Bill Hall, SS2011311
Laynce Nix, CF3000023
   a- Jeff Cirillo, PH1000001
    Derrick Turnbow, P0000000
    Brian Shouse, P0000000
    Dan Kolb, P0000000
   b- Vinny Rottino, PH1000001
Kevin Mench, LF4000021
David Bell, 3B3000100
Mike Rivera, C4221011
Ben Sheets, P2000001
   c- Brady Clark, PH1010000
    Jose Capellan, P0000000
    Francisco Cordero, P0000000
    Geoff Jenkins, RF1112000
Totals3669651012 
a-grounded into a double play for Nix in the 8th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Kolb in the 10th
c-singled for Sheets in the 7th
Batting
2B - Corey Hart (, Johnson), Mike Rivera (, Borowski)
3B - Tony Graffanino (, Johnson)
HR - Mike Rivera (, Johnson), Geoff Jenkins (, Borowski)
RBI - Tony Graffanino (), Prince Fielder (), Bill Hall (), Mike Rivera (), Geoff Jenkins 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Geoff Jenkins 2 ()
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Geoff Jenkins 1
Milwaukee Brewers
Ben Sheets 7433182
Jose Capellan (BS,)0122101
Francisco Cordero 1311130
Derrick Turnbow (L,-) 1.1122110
Brian Shouse 0.1111010
Dan Kolb 0.1100100
HBP - Borchard (by Ben Sheets)
Pitches-Strikes - Ben Sheets 96-60, Jose Capellan 6-3, Francisco Cordero 32-20, Derrick Turnbow 28-15, Brian Shouse 10-5, Dan Kolb 8-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ben Sheets 4-9, Derrick Turnbow 1-2
Batters Faced - Ben Sheets 27, Jose Capellan 2, Francisco Cordero 7, Derrick Turnbow 6, Brian Shouse 2, Dan Kolb 2
Game Information
Attendance - 44005
Game Time - 3:30
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Joe West