Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 4/14/12
Friday night the Astros played in only the second official major league game in the history of the impressive Marlins Ballpark in Miami. The night started a bit rough for Houston and ended the same. In the middle it was a very good game. Miami won 5-4 on a game winning walk off double by Gabby Sanchez in the last of the 11th. The victim was Brandon Lyon. Up to then the Astro bullpen had been sterling. David Carpenter, Wilton Lopez and Fernando Rodriguez each worked two scoreless innings after starter Lucas Harrell struggled through only the first four. On his watch the Marlins scored four times and led 4-2. There could have been more scoring for both teams except that Marlins Ballpark is not good for hitters. It may have been Grand Canyon Ballpark the way long fly balls died before reaching the fences. The distances are long enough as they are. From 344' down the left field line to 386 in left center, 418' in dead center, 392' in right center and 335' down the right field line it takes quite a poke. On top of that at least with the roof closed, as it was Friday, the atmosphere seems dead. That is great news for the pitchers, but not so for the hitters. The only home run hit in the new yard was by Houston's J.D. Martinez in the top of the sixth. It was special. With Jed Lowrie on base Martinez' two run homer tied the game. It also game the Miami area native the distinction of hitting the first official home run in ballpark history. Earlier both Carlos Lee and Chris Johnson hit balls that could have been the firstand would have been nearly everywhere else in baseball, but Marlins Ballpark. It wasn't just the Astros. Omar Infante hit a couple "might have been" balls and so did Sanchez. In fact, fans are still waiting for the decorative home run display of many colors to show what it can do. It only goes into action when a Marlin homers. In two games they have not yet. Their starting lineup on Friday had five home runs, all on the road. Other than taking a line drive foul ball off the bat of Chris Johnson that had me leaving the park limping my first visit to the new ball yard was positive. The architects and builders have done a first class job. Sightlines are generally good even if the upper deck seems extra high and a few large support columns appear to obstruct some views in that same region. The concourses are large and open to the field on the main pavilion. The large window over left field can be opened or closed independently from the roof. Broadcast, press and photo areas are huge, but no allowance was made for inside camera positions for TV or still photographers. The park has plenty of elevators and escalators for fans. It is a winning ballpark except for that one thing. Hitters won't like it much. Pitchers will love it.
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