Marlins win first game under new manager
Florida overcomes four-run deficit in Rodriguez's debut
BALTIMORE -- Capping a hectic and historic day in team history, the Marlins celebrated with a toast, a tribute and a taste of champagne.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
Under new leadership, Gaby Sanchez and Jorge Cantu each connected on two-run homers and the Marlins overcame an early deficit to beat the Orioles, 7-5, on Wednesday night at Camden Yards.
For Florida, the day started off with the dismissal of Fredi Gonzalez as manager at 7:45 a.m. ET. At 10:07 p.m., Edwin Rodriguez became the first Puerto Rican-born manager in big league history to compete and win a game.
"I just found out that he's the first Puerto Rican manager," said Chris Coghlan, who had three hits and drove in two runs. "That's awesome. That's something they can celebrate in Puerto Rico. He should be proud. I enjoy playing for him."
Rodriguez was promoted from Triple-A New Orleans, where he managed the Zephyrs. He is currently the interim manager, and there is no guarantee he will hold the job for long. Former Rangers and Mets manager Bobby Valentine is also a candidate for the job.
Still, the night belonged to Rodriguez, who was handed the game ball by Sanchez, who played for him in Triple-A. Coghlan also was managed in the Minors by Rodriguez.
The front office presented the 10th manager in club history with a bottle of champagne and the lineup card.
"It's a very good win, especially in a close game," Rodriguez said. "Everything worked fine."
The champagne added some flavor to a bittersweet day for the organization.
"I'll share that with my coaches," Rodriguez said.
Now 35-36, the Marlins are in position to complete an Interleague sweep against the Orioles. If they can do so on Thursday, they would return to the .500 mark for the first time since they were 28-28 on June 4.
"It started off as a tough day, and it still is," Dan Uggla said. "The bottom line is it's on us. There are 25 guys in this clubhouse who didn't do what needed to be done. As a result, Fredi was let go. That's the way it is. That's on us. Same time, we've got to move forward and try to win some ballgames."
FIRST DAY ON THE JOB
|Rene Lachemann||W, 6-3||vs. LA||4/5/93|
|Cookie Rojas||W, 7-4||at PHI||7/7/96|
|John Boles||W, 9-8||at ATL||7/11/96|
|Jim Leyland||W, 4-2||vs. CHI||4/1/97|
|Tony Perez||L, 8-5||at PIT||5/28/01|
|Jeff Torborg||L, 7-6||at MON||4/2/02|
|Jack McKeon||W, 7-2||vs. COL||5/11/03|
|Joe Girardi||L, 1-0||at HOU||4/3/06|
|Fredi Gonzalez||W, 9-2||at WAS||4/2/07|
|Edwin Rodriguez||W, 7-5||at BAL||6/23/10|
Ricky Nolasco (6-6) recovered from a four-run second inning to work seven innings and collect his first win since June 1.
"It's a good feeling right now. We need to get on that run," said Nolasco, who struck out eight and walked one. "We need to beat these guys tomorrow and make a push here. It's not early anymore. When we come to the ballpark, we've got to do what we've got to do to win ballgames and not let the other stuff distract us."
RBI doubles by Ronny Paulino and Coghlan in the seventh inning snapped a 4-4 tie. Coghlan added an RBI double in the ninth inning for some more insurance, because the Orioles closed to 6-5 in the eighth on Corey Patterson's infield RBI single.
After falling behind by four in the second, the Marlins tied it in the third, pulling even on a pair of two-run homers off Brian Matusz (2-8). Coghlan singled and Sanchez delivered a two-run shot. After Hanley Ramirez walked, Cantu delivered a two-run blast to left.
Back-to-back homers by the Orioles highlighted a four-run second inning. Luke Scott and Adam Jones each went deep off Nolasco, who has now allowed 17 homers in 15 starts. It marked the second time this season Baltimore had successive homers in an inning. Patterson added a two-out, two-run single in a 28-pitch second inning for Nolasco.
"He was real tough. The pitching this year has been ridiculous," Scott said. "You got guys who throw 95 [mph]. You get in a hitter's count, 2-0, 3-1, 1-0, and guys are dropping changeups and backdoor breaking balls. It's not like they're not necessarily hanging stuff. It makes it really tough to hit. When that happens, you got to tip your cap to a guy on the mound, but at the same time, if we want to win, we have to find a way to overcome it."
In the second inning, Rodriguez wasted little time defending his players to the umpire. On Cesar Izturis' double, Matt Wieters slid into third base. Collecting Coghlan's throw at third, Wes Helms felt he tagged Wieters, but CB Bucknor ruled safe. Helms argued, and Rodriguez sprinted out of the dugout to voice his opinion to the umpire.
"I have to go out there. It was instincts," Rodriguez said. "I didn't even realize I was in the big leagues. It was instincts. I thought Wes made the tag. [Bucknor] told me he was too far out to see the play."
Coghlan was impressed to see Rodriguez, in the second inning of his first game, on the field disputing a call.
"I was really like, 'It would be cool if he got tossed.' I'm not the best to know when it's a good situation to get tossed," Coghlan said. "I thought he was out pretty convincingly. CB said, from his angle, he didn't see him tag him. It was one of those situations where it would be cool if he got thrown out of his first game managing, and he wasn't even there to see us celebrating."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.