Marlins' Volstad blanks Cards in record time
Righty's five-hitter takes 112 minutes; Davis' slam a Florida first
MIAMI -- Back from his six-game suspension, Chris Volstad certainly made up for lost time.
In fact, the Florida right-hander made fast work of the Cardinals, tossing a five-hit shutout. Brad Davis added a grand slam and the Marlins defeated St. Louis, 4-0, on Monday afternoon in the quickest game in team history.
Volstad's second career shutout came in a swift one hour and 52 minutes. The Marlins' previous shortest game came against the Montreal Expos in a contest that lasted one hour and 54 minutes on April 21, 2002.
It was a whole afternoon of firsts. Davis, making his 19th Major League start, delivered the first grand slam ever by a Marlins catcher.
Suspended for his involvement in an altercation with the Nationals on Sept. 1, Volstad made his first start since Sept. 12. The break turned out being a bonus.
"I don't know about that," Volstad said. "Maybe it was nice to get a little break. But I don't think it's ever good to get suspended."
Considering the wear and tear the bullpen has sustained lately, Volstad's 118-pitch performance was much-needed. It also helped the Marlins snap their season-long six-game losing streak and improve their record to 74-75.
The Marlins have been mathematically eliminated from the National League East race, and they are on the verge of being locked out of the NL Wild Card chase, as well.
"It doesn't really do anything for us, except lift our spirits, because we know we're pretty much out of this thing," Dan Uggla said. "But you definitely want to go out and win every time you step on the field. We've been getting our brains beaten in the last six games. This one felt good.
"It was a two-hour game, which was awesome, and I think well-needed for everybody. Vollie went out and really showed what kind of stuff that he's got when he's on top of his game. It was a big homer by Brad. It turned out to be enough."
Volstad tossed the fourth complete game of the season for Florida. It was his second, including a May 7 performance against the Nationals, when he allowed one run.
His other shutout was July 8, 2009, at San Francisco.
"We're not a team that is going to give up ever or get down on ourselves," said the 6-foot-8 right-hander, who turns 24 on Thursday. "But it's nice to have a boost every once in a while. Hopefully, I was able to do that one."
The Marlins and Cardinals played on Monday to make up a rainout on Aug. 8.
Volstad got the best of veteran Chris Carpenter (15-8).
"He was pretty much throwing the kitchen sink against us," Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus said. "His sinker, his slider, we didn't come in and think we'd be playing a quick game."
The Marlins had gone seven straight games without a starter working as much as six innings. So the day off was appreciated by the bullpen.
"It was big for us, not only the losing, but all the injuries," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "Having this kind of game, with all the new faces on the field, he gave us some energy for the next series. Hopefully, we can keep the energy and the intensity."
Logan Morrison singled in the third inning to push his streak of reaching base safely to 39, which is third most in franchise history. Morrison's string is the third longest in the big leagues this season behind Mark Teixeira (42) and Joey Votto (41).
Prospect Ozzie Martinez, making his first big league start, filled in at shortstop because Hanley Ramirez (sore left elbow) and Emilio Bonifacio (tight left hamstring) were unavailable. Martinez collected his first big league hit.
The fact that Martinez is even playing is remarkable. Because last offseason, in Puerto Rico, he was shot several times in a case of mistaken identity. Yet Martinez recovered to the point where he was in Spring Training with the Marlins.
At Double-A Jacksonville, he was an All-Star and a big part of his team's Southern League championship.
"I saw him that day after he got shot in Puerto Rico," said Rodriguez, a Puerto Rico native. "When I saw him [after he was called up Sunday], I had tears in my eyes."
In general, it's been a rough time physically for Florida. Even on Monday, during batting practice, hitting coach John Mallee was injured. Mallee suffered a left biceps injury while lifting a protective screen.
Because of an injury to Brett Hayes, Davis is seeing more playing time. On Monday, he stepped up with the biggest hit of the afternoon.
Uggla opened the second inning with a double off the wall in left field. Gaby Sanchez drew a walk, and both players advanced into scoring position on Chad Tracy's fly ball to center field.
With first base open, Carpenter intentionally walked rookie slugger Mike Stanton to get to Davis. Basically, the Cardinals opted to avoid the rookie outfielder with 20 homers by pitching to a rookie catcher who had two homers.
The decision didn't pan out for Carpenter, who fell behind in the count. Davis turned on a 2-0 offering and connected on his first career grand slam.
For the Marlins, it was their third slam of the season. Stanton and Ramirez provided the first two.
"I'm sure if the situation came up tomorrow, they'd probably do the same thing," said Davis, who was given a shaving-cream towel to the face by Will Ohman in the clubhouse just prior to his interview session. "Mike Stanton is a little more of a home run threat than I am. They played the odds. It worked out for us."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.