On a night when Dodger Stadium actually caught fire during the game, the Marlins' bullpen was hot, hot, hot.
With would-be starter Josh Johnson on the disabled list with shoulder inflamation, Brian Sanches kicked off a terrific all-reliever night for the Fish and helped hold the Dodgers to six hits in a 6-1 Marlins win.
Gaby Sanchez doubled twice and scored twice, pinch-hitter Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs each drove in two runs, and -- isn't this just the Marlins' luck -- the whole shebang was upstaged by the stadium catching fire.
Smoke started billowing toward the field from behind the upper-deck seats on the first-base side during the fifth inning, the result of a small fire in a contained storage area.
"I could smell that smoke and I was like, 'Gosh, that ain't no hot dog stand,'" center fielder Chris Coghlan told the Sun-Sentinel after the game. "Then I saw this huge puff and thought, 'Oh my gosh, this place is on fire!'"
Game play was never delayed, but the entire area surrounding the fire was evacuated, with the Los Angeles Fire Department directing fans to climb to the top of the ballpark to relocate themselves. The in-game P.A. accouncer assured the crowd of 29,971 fans it was not necessary to leave the stadium.
Making the scene even slightly more surreal: Dodgers fans were celebrating their second annual Bark at the Park night, with many bringing their dogs.
Fortunately, the only injuries involved Dodger pride. Before leaving the mound with a 3-1 lead, Sanches threw 58 pitches over three innings, allowing only one run and three hits. His previous start was in 2007 for a Triple-A club in Ottawa.
"It was a good feeling, but I tried not to make it any more than what it was," he said. "I just tried to make it like it was a normal relief appearance, only that it was in the first inning. I haven't thrown out of the windup since my starting days — and the last time I started regularly was 2003."
"Winning 6-1 on a bullpen day, you have to feel good," said manager Edwin Rodriguez. "We were trying to mix and match with who was coming up, and it worked out fine. After we announced that J.J. was down, all the starters started stepping up — and now the bullpen did today. That's what good teams do. Everybody is doing the job."