PHOENIX -- The final score revealed a 3-2 loss for the Marlins. Paul Goldschmidt crushed a Chad Qualls fastball off the batter’s eye in center at Chase Field, giving the Diamondbacks a walk-off victory.
But it was a high two-digit number that kept lighting up much of the night on the stadium scoreboard that gave the Marlins reason for optimism despite the loss.
It was Nathan Eovaldi’s fastball reading. And it sizzled.
“His velocity was impressive,” said Marlins manager Mike Redmond. “His arm looks good.”
That it did for Eovaldi, who emerged from his nearly 2 1/2 month stay on the disabled list to make his season debut for the Marlins in impressive style. The right-hander had the radar gun smoking with upper 90s heat that rivaled the 100-plus temperatures outside, and topping out at 99.
“This is the best my fastball’s felt, locating it,” Eovaldi said after turning in six innings in which he gave up a pair of runs on only three hits. “It felt good getting back up on the mound.”
One thing the gun readings would appear to indicate: the shoulder problems that landed Eovaldi on the disabled list at season’s start look to be a non-factor.
“I was pleasantly surprised by him being able to sustain and maintain that throughout the course of his 85 pitches,” Redmond said.
Aside from the two-run homer he gave up to Martin Prado with two outs in the fourth, Eovaldi’s season debut went well for the right-hander. It was a lapse in the fourth that ended up hurting him.
After issuing a two-out walk to Miguel Montero, Eovaldi hung a 3-1 pitch that Prado launched for his fifth home run.
“I ended up walking Montero with two outs and then, after that, my timing was just a little off,” Eovaldi explained. “I fell behind against Prado and left a pitch middle in, and he hammered it.”
Still, it was a promising beginning for the 23-year-old Eovaldi, who was expected to fill the second slot in the Marlins’ rotation before a shoulder flare-up in his final spring training start landed him on the disabled list.
The Marlins did little offensively.
One night after they pulled out a victory despite totaling only three hits -- two of them Giancarlo Stanton homers -- the bats remained relatively cold against Diamondbacks starter Randall Delgado.
Of their eight hits off Delgado, four came in a two-run fourth inning in which Derek Dietrich drove in one run with a triple and Adeiny Hechavarria drove in another with a single. After that, the Marlins managed to put only one runner aboard over the final five innings.
Hechavarria ripped a shot into the left-field corner to open the seventh but was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple.
“A little too aggressive for the situation,” Redmond said of Hechavarria’s bad gamble.
Juan Pierre extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a third-inning single. But Stanton’s seven-game streak ended with an 0 for 4 night at the plate.
Qualls was on the mound for the Marlins to start the ninth and, after falling behind 1-0 to Goldschmidt, misfired with a fastball that the Diamondbacks’ top home run hitter swatted off the dark facing in center.
Home run. Game over.
“We made a mistake there,” Redmond said of the pitch by Qualls. “The pitch was middle in. I know he wasn’t trying to go there. It just ended up there.”