Marlins' homers not enough to trump Brewers

Marlins' homers not enough to trump Brewers

Marlins' homers not enough to trump Brewers
MIAMI -- Slugging it out with the Brewers wasn't such a wise idea.

Milwaukee, the National League leaders in home runs, capitalized on two home runs to power past Miami, 8-4, in front of 23,403 at Marlins Park on Tuesday night.

Norichika Aoki had a two-run shot and Jeff Bianchi crushed a three-run blast that provided the support the Brewers needed to even the four-game series.

Milwaukee has hit 170 homers, the fourth most in the Majors.

"They're going to swing the bat," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "All those guys out there, they've got good numbers. If you make one mistake, they're going to make you pay."

The Marlins showed some pop as well. Giancarlo Stanton hit a solo shot, and Gorkys Hernandez delivered a two-run homer. Miami has 120 team homers, which rates 20th in the big leagues.

Hernandez's first career home run gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning. The blast to left-center off Shaun Marcum came in his 90th big league at-bat, and his 66th since being traded to Miami from Pittsburgh on July 31.

"It felt great, because it was my first home run in the big leagues," Hernandez said. "That's for my wife and my daughter and my son.

"When hit the ball, I said, 'Maybe it's gone.' "But when I saw it after that it was gone, I couldn't believe it. That was awesome."

Stanton's shot in the fourth inning gave him 30 on the season, marking the 17th time a Marlin has reached that milestone. The 22-year-old has done it in back-to-back years.

Stanton had gone 28 at-bats between blasts, with his last coming at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 26.

Marlins starter Wade LeBlanc rebounded from a slow start, allowing three runs in six innings. The left-hander, starting for the first time since Aug. 22 at Arizona, exited with a 4-3 lead, which the bullpen was unable to protect.

The Brewers rallied in the seventh and eighth innings to claim the lead and break the game open.

"A lot of people say a bloop and a blast," Guillen said. "That's what happened to us today, a couple of bloops and a blast. That blast was pretty big, because that was three runs. That put us in a very bad position when you only have two innings to play."

With two outs in the seventh inning, the Brewers strung together four straight hits to push across two runs.

Nyjer Morgan reached on a pinch-hit infield single off Ryan Webb, and Aoki delivered the tying RBI double off Mike Dunn. Ryan Braun's infield single off Carlos Zambrano put Milwaukee in front, 5-4.

In the eighth inning, the Brewers deflated the Marlins on Bianchi's three-run shot off Chad Gaudin.

A highlight for Miami was the impressive MLB debut of reliever A.J. Ramos, who was called up from Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday.

Ramos struck out Rickie Weeks, Braun and Aramis Ramirez in order. According to Stats LLC, Ramos is the first Marlin ever to debut by striking out the side in his first inning pitched.

"What was impressive was, by the time the inning was over, I didn't know it was his debut," catcher Rob Brantly said. "I thought he had been up in the big leagues before by the way he handled himself. He came in there confident and just pounded the zone. Came in there confident and threw strikes."

The inning featured a rookie mistake by Brantly, the 23-year-old catcher, who didn't automatically toss the baseball to the dugout for Ramos to remember the occasion.

After Weeks struck out, Brantly threw the ball around the infield. And Ramos used the same ball to strike out Braun. Again, Brantly threw the ball around, as he heard screams from the dugout.

But before the same ball was thrown to Ramirez, it was replaced. So Ramos received the baseball for his first two strikeouts.

Still there was another awkward moment for Brantly, who collected strike three when Ramirez struck out. On his way to the dugout, the Miami catcher flipped the ball into the stands, over the objections of his teammates.

"I definitely threw the ball around," Brantly said. "I was wondering why everybody was screaming at me. Even that didn't cue it. And after the third strikeout, I ran to the dugout and chucked the ball into the stands. Everybody was screaming, 'No!' So, I quickly grabbed a ball out of a ball bag. I was like, 'Kid! Kid! Give me the ball back.'"

Eventually, Ramos received that baseball as well.

"There is a real lesson for me," Brantly said. "But he handled himself like a champ out there."

Early on, the Brewers made LeBlanc work. The left-hander threw 28 pitches and faced six batters in the first inning, and Milwaukee got on the board on Braun's RBI double.

In the second inning, Aoki's two-out, two-run homer bumped up the Brewers' lead to 3-0. LeBlanc got himself in trouble by issuing a two-out single to Marcum. Two pitches later, Aoki connected on his seventh home run.

"I think our offense is a lot more confident in scoring runs," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We get tight ballgames and they feel like they're going to score, and they have been. They've been coming through with some big hits."

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.