Coghlan's rare shot chases Lincecum, lifts Marlins

Coghlan's rare shot chases Lincecum, lifts Marlins

Coghlan's rare shot chases Lincecum, lifts Marlins
MIAMI -- Home runs are coming at a rapid rate for Giancarlo Stanton, who belted a solo shot on Friday, giving him three in five games this week.

But the big blast in a wild night was delivered by an unlikely source.

Chris Coghlan's three-run homer off Tim Lincecum punctuated a five-run sixth inning that vaulted the Marlins to a 7-6 win over the Giants in front of 27,123 at Marlins Park.

The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year, who is hitting .120, delivered his first home run since June 11, 2011.

"Huge, huge at-bat for him," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think this guy has struggled all year long and tried to help us as best he can. That home run was very huge, against one of the best pitchers in the game. The way we were swinging it seemed like we weren't going to do too much damage, but they put a couple good at-bats. Obviously that was a big one for us."

The Marlins snapped a two-game slide and improved to 17-7 in May, giving them their most wins ever in the month.

Even though the Marlins have been winning, nothing has been easy. Protecting a four-run lead in the final two innings was the latest example.

After Edward Mujica allowed a run in the eighth, Miami was up 7-4 in the ninth, but closer Heath Bell got into trouble when Joaquin Arias doubled to open the inning. With one out, Brandon Belt ripped an RBI single, and Gregor Blanco doubled to left, putting runners on second and third.

On the brink of seeing the lead disappear, Guillen went with Steve Cishek.

"Bell is my closer," Guillen said. "Today I had a bad feeling, I had a gut feeling he's not throwing well. He's getting paid to close and I get paid to win games, or give the players the best opportunities to win games. I know it's a very hard and uncomfortable move ... because your closer is your closer, but from the beginning I didn't feel comfortable with him."

Cishek put out the threat. Brandon Crawford's sacrifice fly to left made it a one-run game. But Blanco remained on second.

Cishek ended it by striking out Melky Cabrera looking on a full-count slider.

It was Cishek's first save of the season, and fourth of his career.

"If I am going to miss, I'm going to miss off the plate," Cishek said of his strategy against the hot Cabrera, who tripled and homered in the game. "If he's going to get out, he's going to get out swinging at bad pitches. Luckily, he didn't swing at the sliders I threw in there. I'm thankful he didn't."

Cabrera was 5-for-9 in the first two games of the series before facing Cishek with the game on the line.

"The guy made some quality pitches," Cabrera said. "He won that battle. It was just a good pitch. I couldn't pick it up."

Bell understood the decision to go with Cishek.

"This year, I just haven't proven myself that I can get myself out of jams," says Bell, who has converted seven of 11 chances. "Ozzie went with [Cishek] and it worked out. As long as we win, that's really what counts. Individual stats mean everything in the world at the end of the season, but a championship can only be won as a team. Team wins are what counts."

Bell heard boos on the way to the dugout.

"The crowd, they wanted to win," Bell said. "If somebody is not doing well, they're going to let you know. I like that because that means the crowd is into it, and they're passionate about their team. They're not just there for entertainment. They actually care about wins and losses."

With Josh Johnson and Lincecum starting, runs promised to be tough to come by. But neither right-hander was dominant.

Johnson battled through five innings, giving up three runs on nine hits, including the home run by Cabrera. The right-hander exited after 90 pitches, and he struck out three.

Lincecum limited Miami to a Stanton home run in the fourth until being tagged for five runs in the sixth.

Omar Infante doubled and Stanton lined a broken-bat RBI single to center before stealing second. Logan Morrison walked, and Bryan Petersen's single to right loaded the bases. John Buck lifted a sacrifice fly to center, tying the game at 3.

Coghlan connected on a three-run homer to right field, giving Miami a 6-3 lead.

"I thought he threw a good two-seamer away to get ahead and I wasn't looking for a curveball, but fortunately he hung it and I was able to hit it," Coghlan said.

In the fourth inning, Stanton belted a home run off Lincecum that landed in the 73-foot home run sculpture in left-center. It was the slugger's 10th home run in May, and 11th on the season.

Stanton is now tied with Cody Ross (2008) for the second-most home runs by a Marlin in May. Dan Uggla holds the team mark for homers in a month, 12, set in May 2008.

The wild night also featured rookie Dan Jennings' first big league win. The lefty reliever was called up from Triple-A New Orleans earlier in the day. Actually, he didn't arrive at the ballpark until 30 minutes before the first pitch. He played catch a few minutes starting at 6:55 p.m. ET.

"My first thought is, 'Routine goes out the window,'" Jennings said. "I got here about 6:40. I changed as quickly as possible."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.