SAN DIEGO -- Defense is something Marlins manager Mike Redmond takes seriously.
Marlins players and coaches have worn black T-shirts with that word on the front of it since the start of spring training. But so far, the Marlins (10-23) have done about as poor a job with their gloves as they have done with their bats.
In Monday night’s 5-0 loss to the Padres at Petco Park, the lowest-scoring team in the majors and the most error-prone team in the game produced five hits and two errors — including one that is sure to end up on this week’s blooper reels.
Catcher Rob Brantly, who grew up about 40 minutes north of San Diego and had family members and friends in attendance, made that play to forget in the first inning when he let what looked like a routine pop-out off the bat of Carlos Quentin become much more difficult than it needed to be.
Instead of falling in his glove for the third out of the inning, the ball landed safely just to he left of Brantly as he lunged to catch it. Everth Cabrera came racing around to score easily from second to make it 1-0.
“I don’t know if once it got up towards the top if the wind was kind of blowing a little bit. I don’t know if it took it back more than he thought,” said Marlins pitcher Wade LeBlanc, who watched the play unfold just a few feet away. “But that’s a tough play for a catcher coming out in front of home plate.”
Redmond said that was Brantly’s ball all the way. Three innings later, the normally sure-handed Placido Polanco booted a hard-hit ball for his first error of the season.
It didn’t lead to any runs. But it forced starter Wade LeBlanc, who fell to 0-5 with his eighth consecutive loss dating back to Aug. 22 last season, to throw 11 more pitches in the inning. LeBlanc then gave up a pair of two-out RBI singles an inning later as the Padres took a commanding 4-0 lead.
With the two errors Monday, the Marlins moved past the Washington Nationals and into a tie with the Cubs for the most errors in baseball at 27. They’ve made six alone on this road trip.
“I’m not happy about it,” Redmond said of the errors. “We talked all spring about how it would be one of our strengths -- our defense. We’re giving the other team way too many extra opportunities. You can’t do that and win ballgames. Even when we had a couple plays we probably should have made that didn’t go for errors we didn’t make plays on them either. We’ll improve. When we do that we’ll start winning more ballgames.”
The same can be said for hitting with runners in scoring position. The Marlins finished 0-for-7 in that statistical category Monday, the fourth time during the first five games of this road trip they’ve gone hitless with a man in position to score (0-for-25 in those games; not including Sunday’s 5-for-13 performance in a 14-2 win over the Phillies).
In all, the Marlins have now gone hitless with runners in scoring position a third of their games this season and rank 24th out of 30 MLB teams with a .222 batting average in those situations. Only the Dodgers, Pirates, Mariners, White Sox, Blue Jays and Cubs are worse. Last season the Marlins finished 26th with a .234 team batting average with runners in scoring position.
Brantly, who has been dealing with a sliced right index finger, probably will be rested until Friday because the finger has not been healing properly, Redmond said.
• As expected, the Marlins placed Donovan Solano, who leads all second basemen with six errors this season, on the 15-day disables list Tuesday with a left intercostal strain.
Veteran infielder Nick Green, 34, was selected to take Solano’s spot. The Marlins moved right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who recently had a setback in his return from a shoulder injury, to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Green. Alvarez is not expected back until the All-Star break.
• Marlins rookie right fielder Marcell Ozuna had his six-game hitting streak to begin his career snapped on Monday when he finished 0 for4.
Ozuna, though, did show off his arm strength with a pair of bullet throws to the plate on a pair of RBI singles in the fourth inning. But both tosses by Ozuna were just a tad late.
• Wednesday: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-3, 4.14) at Padres RHP Jason Marquis (3-2, 4.25), 3:40 p.m., Petco Park.
• Thursday: Off.
• Scouting report: Nolasco is 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in five career starts at Petco Park, including last year’s seven inning, two-run effort in a Marlins win. Marquis, who hasn’t faced the Marlins since 2011, is 6-6 with a 6.12 ERA against Miami all-time.