Marlins 9, Rockies 8

Published Jul. 20, 2010 4:37 a.m. EDT

Ubaldo Jimenez couldn't hold a lead. Neither could the Florida Marlins.

And neither could the Colorado Rockies' bullpen.

Pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning Monday night, and the Marlins won a seesaw game against the Rockies, 9-8.

It was the fifth lead change. All-Star starter Jimenez departed trailing after his shortest outing of the season, but Jonathan Herrera's first career homer put the Rockies ahead 8-7 in the eighth inning.


After Colorado closer Huston Street (1-2) retired the first two batters in the ninth, Dan Uggla walked. Murphy - batting for only the fourth time this season - then hit an opposite-field homer on a 1-0 fastball.

''If you had asked me before the game if I was going to hit a walk-off home run after all the stuff that happened tonight, I definitely would have said no,'' Murphy said. ''It was a crazy game. It was just good to come out on top.''

The homer was Murphy's first since July 3, 2008, with Oakland. A mob of teammates led by Uggla greeted him at home plate.

''Walk-offs are so exciting and so much fun for us, because we get to act like little kids again,'' Uggla said.

The blown save was the first this season for Street, who has six saves since returning last month from a shoulder injury. He said he felt like Murphy hit ''a decent pitch.''

''He took a good swing,'' Street said. ''It's a total letdown when you walk into the clubhouse. You're one pitch away from a win and, obviously, it's on my shoulders.''

The Marlins improved to 2-42 when trailing after eight innings. Florida won its third game in a row, while the Rockies lost for the third time in four games since the All-Star break.

''They battled and battled and battled, and we battled and battled and battled,'' Uggla said. ''A lot of good things came out of tonight. You're not going to win all of them like that, but we're going to enjoy this one.''

Colorado's comeback in the eighth kept alive a nine-game winning streak for Jimenez, who is 15-1. But the Rockies ace endured his latest in a series of rocky outings.

Making his first start since the All-Star game last Tuesday, Jimenez twice failed to protect a lead. His final pitch was walloped by rookie Mike Stanton for a three-run homer that put Florida ahead 6-4.

Jimenez said he tired after three innings pitching on a muggy, 87-degree night.

''It's crazy pitching here,'' he said. ''You get so tired and exhausted. Other pitchers pitch here. I'm not going to use that as an excuse.''

Jimenez allowed six runs, four earned, in 5 1-3 innings and has an ERA of 6.39 in his past five starts.

Marlins relievers were no better. They took a scoreless streak of 23 innings into the eighth, but Ian Stewart hit his 12th homer off Clay Hensley to cut Florida's lead to 7-5.

Clint Barmes was hit by a pitch, and with two outs Seth Smith walked. Jhan Marinez came on to face Herrera, who pulled a 2-1 pitch into the right-field seats.

''A three-run home run from the most unlikeliest of guys,'' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Marinez (1-0) nonetheless earned his first major league victory.

Jimenez threw only five pitches in the first inning and struck out the side in the second, then gave up three runs - two unearned - in the third. He departed after throwing 93 pitches and has failed to reach the 100 mark in three of his past four starts.

The right-hander allowed six hits, walked three and made an errant pickoff throw that led to an unearned run. His ERA rose to 2.38.

Still, Jimenez won praise from the Marlins.

''You can never get a guy with stuff that good out of the game soon enough,'' Uggla said. ''That's the best stuff I've seen in a long time. He doesn't throw anything straight. He pounds the strike zone. He hits corners. It's not an easy at-bat.''

Florida's Emilio Bonifacio, filling in for injured leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan, had two hits and two RBIs and scored twice. Hanley Ramirez bunted in a run against Jimenez.

Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez allowed four runs, two earned, in six innings.

Jason Giambi had a two-run single in the third for the Rockies. Smith had three of their 11 hits, and Jimenez singled home a run.

But the Rockies' bullpen gave up five hits and three runs in 3 1-3 innings.

''That,'' Tracy said, ''was one you didn't want to see get away.''

NOTES: Jimenez's road ERA soared to 1.60. In three no-decisions this season, his ERA is 9.00. ... Stanton matched his season high with three hits. ... Giambi is batting .467 this month. ... Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez predicts at least 90 victories will be needed to win the NL East or a wild-card berth.