MIAMI, FL - MARCH 06: Gaby Sanchez #15 of the Miami Marlins hits during a game against the University of Miami Hurricanes at Marlins Park on March 6, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Beyond the left-field wall, in the direction of downtown, fireworks began going off with the Miami Marlins leading by two runs and two outs from victory.
Soon it was the Houston Astros who were celebrating.
Carlos Lee drove in the tying run with a two-out single in the ninth inning, and an error by left fielder Logan Morrison allowed the go-ahead run to score Saturday night as Houston rallied to beat closer Heath Bell and the Marlins 5-4.
Bell, one of the Marlins' All-Star acquisitions this offseason, took the mound with a 4-1 lead to start the ninth but had a shaky performance for the third time in as many outings this season.
"I thought I had good stuff," Bell said. "Apparently I didn't. I didn't get the job done."
The Astros had four hits in the inning and scored four times, taking advantage of three Miami errors.
The last miscue was by Morrison, who misjudged a slicing fly hit by Brian Bogusevic. Morrison staggered and fell as he tried to catch it, and the ball glanced off the heel of his glove, allowing a runner to score from third.
"It's a tough one to swallow," interim manager Joey Cora said. "It got a little sloppy at the end."
Two of the runs in the ninth were unearned, but Bell took full responsibility.
"It's nobody's fault but mine," he said.
Rhiner Cruz (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings. Brett Myers followed with a perfect ninth for his second save.
"We're a scrappy ballclub," Myers said. "This is something we didn't do last year. We'd go out there and feel like we didn't have a chance. That's one of the best closers in the game, and we went out there and battled as best we could and it ended up working out for us."
Bell (0-2), booed when he departed after retiring only two of the seven batters he faced, blew a save for the second time in as many chances.
"It's just really hard to look at my teammate and them have confidence in me," he said. "I haven't showed that I can do it."
Jose Altuve doubled with one out in the ninth to start Houston's comeback, and took third when center fielder Emilio Bonifacio bobbled the ball for an error. Pinch-hitter Travis Buck singled home a run, and Jordan Schafer reached on catcher's interference.
With two outs, J.D. Martinez hit an RBI single. Lee followed with a tying single on the first pitch.
The rally cost Carlos Zambrano his first win for the Marlins. He overcame six walks in six innings and left with a 4-1 lead.
"I'm not here to criticize my teammates," he said. "What happened happened."
Houston starter Bud Norris gave up four runs in six innings. The Astros, last in the majors in 2011 with a 25-56 road record, improved to 1-1 on their first trip of the year and won in Miami for the first time since 2010.
Announced attendance in the Marlins' new 36,442-seat ballpark was 31,659, but for the second consecutive night there were about 10,000 empty seats. Fans are still waiting to see the animated home run sculpture in action, because the Marlins have yet to homer at home through three games.
Hitters are beginning to grumble that the fences are tough to reach, and that was again the case. With the retractable roof open, Hanley Ramirez hit a 400-foot flyout to center in the first inning. Houston's Jed Lowrie had a warning-track flyout in the third — the fifth in the series for the two teams.
"The wind was blowing," left fielder Martinez said. "It was like funnel out there. The ball Jed hit, that should have went way out."
Norris conceded Ramirez's long fly worried him.
"In all honestly, I think Hanley's ball in the first inning is gone in a lot of parks," Norris said.
Zambrano walked Schafer three times and Martinez twice, but he stranded seven runners in the first four innings, and others were erased on the bases.
The Marlins scored three times on the third. Ramirez, who was off to a 4-for-31 start, put the Marlins ahead with an RBI single. Morrison followed with a sacrifice fly, and a run-scoring single by Gaby Sanchez made it 4-1.
Morrison had a two-out RBI single in the first.
In the first three innings, Zambrano walked five, but the lone run scored on a first-inning single by Lee.