Marlins steal seven, but timely hits lacking

Marlins steal seven, but timely hits lacking

Marlins steal seven, but timely hits lacking
MIAMI -- The Marlins' first game without Hanley Ramirez ended much like their last one with him -- in a loss.

Unable to get the big hit, Miami squandered numerous opportunities in falling to the Braves, 7-1, Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park.

Braves starter Tommy Hanson issued a season-high seven walks and the Marlins stole seven bases, but they still fell to a season-worst eight games below .500. The loss, which came in front of a sellout crowd of 36,711, dropped Miami 13 1/2 games back in the National League East.

"The game was pretty confusing," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "In five innings we steal seven bases, walk like seven times, three doubles and we score one [run]. Sometimes you think about it and shake your head. ... For five innings we felt like we could score any time, any moment -- and we didn't."

The seven steals were the most in a single game in the Majors this season, and the most by the Marlins since 2002. The club record is 10, which was accomplished against the Padres on May 18, 2000.

"I don't remember seeing that before: You have seven stolen bases, six, seven walks and three doubles, and you don't score -- that's amazing," Guillen said. "It's amazing what you see this year, amazing how we do stuff and don't get it done."

The Marlins got leadoff doubles against Hanson in the first and second innings, but they were unable to capitalize. After Jose Reyes led off the first to extend his hit streak to 13 games, he stole third, but was stranded. Justin Ruggiano started the second with a double. Emilio Bonifacio walked, and the two advanced to third and second, respectively, on a double-steal to put a pair of runners in scoring position with no outs. 

Both were stranded.

The Marlins scored their lone run against Hanson, who lasted five innings and struck out seven, in the third. Reyes walked to open the frame and stole second, but he was caught trying to swipe third. Hanson walked the next two batters before Ruggiano doubled to plate Donovan Solano. Carlos Lee, who had walked after Solano, was thrown out at home trying to score from first.

Ruggiano's double was the Marlins' last hit of the day.

Solano, who got the start at third after Ramirez was traded and will carry most of the workload there, went 0-for-1 with three walks and a pair of steals. He also made a stellar defensive play in front of the mound on the first-base side in the fourth, snow-coning a popup off the bat of Brian McCann.

Despite the seven swipes, the Marlins managed to muster just the one run, becoming the first team to steal at least seven bases in a game and score one run or fewer since the 1914 St. Louis Browns.

"Going back to my people from SABR, who say stolen bases don't equal runs -- today it came true," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But it's not a real good feeling when guys are running all around the basepaths."

For the afternoon, Miami stranded eight men on base and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

"As a team we need to make a better effort and maybe focus a little more to make it stop being the plague of the Marlins, because it's all we hear about," Ruggiano said.

Miami leads the Majors with 102 steals. Guillen said the team will continue to rely on its speed to try to produce runs, especially after losing Ramirez's power in the lineup and already playing without slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who isn't expected to return for at least two more weeks.

While the Marlins struggled with the timely hit, Ricky Nolasco struggled on the mound. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, yielding six runs on eight hits. It was the most runs he's allowed since June 20, when Boston scored nine against him.

"He was off, very off," Guillen said. "The stuff wasn't there, but the offense -- we still left too many people on base. If we want to win this thing and have more fun, we got to bring those guys in."

After Miami took a lead in the third, Nolasco gave it up the next frame, giving up three runs courtesy of a Freddie Freeman RBI single followed by a two-run home run by Juan Francisco, his eighth of the season.

Nolasco gave up another home run in the fifth, when Michael Bourn cranked a two-run shot to right field. It was the second straight start Nolasco surrendered two home runs after he went 17 straight outings without allowing multiple homers.

Jason Heyward added his 15th round-tripper of the season in the eighth against Wade LeBlanc to put an exclamation point on the Braves' series win, while the Marlins have not won a series since June 29-July 1 against the Phillies, dropping four series and splitting two during that span.

"Everyone's kind of got their head down a little bit right now, but we're [nine] games out of the Wild Card," Ruggiano said. "You never know what can happen. I don't think any of us are giving up in here."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.