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03/06/12 11:45 PM EST
Hanley homers as Miami christens Marlins Park
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- The very first pitch of the game reminded Marlins left-hander Mark Buehrle that this wasn't a typical Spring Training game. The University of Miami's Tyler Palmer swung at Buehrle's initial offer, and laced a hard foul ball down the third-base line. Buehrle flinched a bit, taken back by the loud, "Ping!" of the metal bats used by the college players.
Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Alex Fernandez Jr., the son of former big leaguer Alex Fernandez, in a four-run fourth inning, which put the Marlins ahead, 4-3. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is a former teammate of Alex Fernandez, and he remembers watching Alex Jr. grow up. "I saw that kid born," Guillen said. "I saw him play a little bit in high school. To see him pitch in this ballpark, Alex [Sr.] should feel proud. I know how hard it is to get into college. UM has a great program. To be in their program is pretty good." Buehrle was expected to work two innings, but after he retired six straight to open the game, he went out for the third inning. Miami strung together four straight one-out hits. Dale Carey delivered a three-run double. "I was only going two innings, originally," Buehrle said. "My pitch count was down. To get those three innings, and get cranked up again, that's what Spring Training is all about. You try to get those innings built up and the pitch count built up. The first couple of innings, the location was good. Then, I made some mistakes and I made some good pitches, and they put them in play." Before the game, some Marlins joked with Buehrle about facing a hungry Hurricanes squad, which got swept over the weekend in three games against the Florida Gators. "Some guys were joking around about how they just got swept by Florida, and how they were going to be pumped up coming in trying to rebound, and they are going to be energized up," Buehrle said. "Just trying to stir it up and have some fun with me. Obviously, they're seventh or eighth in the nation." Facing college hitters wasn't the ideal matchup for Buehrle, according to Guillen. "When you're a pitcher like Buehrle, facing college kids, you feel uncomfortable," Guillen said. "You can't have your game plan. Everything changes. He was supposed to go for two, he went three. He went three." Up next: The Marlins have another split-squad day on Wednesday. AT 1:05 p.m. ET, available live on Gameday Audio, lefty Sean West will get the nod against the Mets, who are going with Jon Niese at Roger Dean Stadium. Miami's night game will be at their new ballpark. The team made 15,000 seats available for their game against Florida International University. Ricky Nolasco will start and throw about 45 pitches. Jose Reyes and Giancarlo Stanton will be among the regulars in Miami.
"When that first kid swung at that first pitch, I kind of flinched," Buehrle said. "What was that noise? I'm not used to hearing that."The whole atmosphere of Miami Marlins baseball will be something the team will be getting accustomed with. Tuesday marked the first time the franchise played in its new home, Marlins Park. Palmer had delivered a two-run single in the sixth inning to put the Hurricanes on top, but Terry Tiffee knocked in Jeff Dominguez in the ninth to secure a 7-6 victory as the Marlins christened their new park with a walk-off. Christian Yelich, one of the Marlins' top prospects, delivered the game-tying single, setting up Tiffee's heroics.