Dan Uggla had a huge day, homering in the first game and hitting a walk off RBI single in the second as the Marlins swept a doubleheader for the first time since 2003 and improved to a yearly best 9 games above .500.
Uggla's homer did three things. It set a franchise record for most home runs in a single month, it tied him with Astros' slugger Lance Berkman for the league lead and it put Mark Hendrickson in line for a win that he didn't deserve. For a fourth straight start, the 6'8" lefty threw over 70 pitches in less than 6 innings. He gave up seasonal highs in runs (5) and hits (9). It is now safe to say that Hendrickson has come back to Earth. He has a 5.12 ERA in his last 21 innings. The only reason he has a 2-1 record over that span? The offense has provided him with 1.19 runs of support per inning.
Jeremy Hermida, Jorge Cantu and Cody Ross also homered in game 1. Hermida and Cantu went back-to-back in the 1st and Ross hit a two out shot in the 7th. All of Ross' last five hits have been home runs. Hopefully Hermida's blast means he's getting off the schnide. Coming into play today, he was 3 for his last 29. Fredi Gonzalez finally found someone who likes the 3 spot. Since the move, Cantu is 6-14 with 6 RBIs and we're about to enter June, where he hits .290/.330/.486/.816.
On short rest and even shorter notice, 24-year-old right hander Eulogio De La Cruz made his first MLB start in game 2. De La Cruz did his job, eating three innings and giving up two runs before forcing Gonzalez to go to the bullpen. De La Cruz showed flashes of what he could be, dialing his fastball up to 96 MPH to strike out Aaron Rowand. Both of the runs he gave up were batted in by arguably the hottest hitter in baseball, Bengie Molina. On the day, Molina was 6-7 with 6 RBIs. Per Fredi, De La Cruz will be sent back to the minors on Monday and another pitcher, probably a reliever, will be brought up. Joe Nelson, who has a 2.10 ERA through 25.1 innings in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, would be the logical choice.
Giants starter Matt Cain made the two runs De La Cruz stand up, tossing 6 innings, allowing 2 runs, one being Cantu's second long ball of the day, and striking out 6. However, the Marlins would immediately get to the San Fransisco pen in the 7th. With one on and 2 out, Hanley Ramirez singled and Ross walked to load the bases. Cantu came through with a 2 RBI single to tie things at 4. In the series, Cantu went 5-10 with 2 homers and 4 RBIs. A double and two walks set the stage for Uggla in the 9th. Two months ago, Uggla began his season by going 2-20. He's 15 for his last 36 with 4 homers and 8 RBIs.
With a chip on their shoulders, the Marlins hit the road for a lengthy 10 game trip. First stop: Flushing, New York. The three game set with the Mets kicks off tomorrow with Ricky Nolasco, who is coming off of a career night, matching up against Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey had been solid in his last two outings heading into a start against Atlanta but the Braves pummeled him to the tune of 6 runs on 8 hits over 4 innings, extending his losing streak to 5 straight. In three career starts against Florida, Pelfrey is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA. It will be hard for Nolasco to best his last outing in which he limited the Diamondbacks to just 3 hits over 7 innings and handed Brandon Webb his first loss of the year but he'll give it a shot. Historically, he's struggled mightily against the Mets. In 4 career starts, he's 1-3 with a 10.80 ERA.