After trailing early in each of the last four games, this time the Marlins came out swinging.
Miami put three runs on the board in the first inning and added another in the second to take a 4-0 lead, en route to a 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon at Marlins Park.
Josh Johnson (8-11) delivered an impressive performance for his second start in a row. And unlike last week, when Johnson pitched eight strong innings but did not get a decision, the Marlins (61-77) did not let a good performance from their right hander go to waste.
Johnson finished as the winning pitcher after going seven innings, allowing two runs off of four hits. The win, Johnson’s first since Aug. 2, snapped his four-game losing streak, tied for the longest in his career.
“It seems a bit longer than it actually was,” Johnson said of his skid. “I’m starting to finally put it together with back-to-back starts.”
Manager Ozzie Guillen said that despite his pitcher’s losing record, Johnson has had an impressive year, especially considering the fact that he spent the off-season rehabbing from a shoulder injury.
“He started very rough [early in the season] because he hadn’t pitched in a while,” Guillen said. “You look up and he’s had a great year, compared to where he was last year.”
The Marlins gave Johnson a three-run cushion with a four-hit first inning off of Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada (2-6).
Bryan Petersen led off with a double off the wall in right-center and quickly scored after a single by rookie Donovan Solano. Reyes doubled to drive in Solano and later reached home after a sacrifice fly by Greg Dobbs.
“[Estrada] left a fastball over the plate, good enough for me to hit it to the wall,” Petersen said. “I wanted to be that spark by having a good at-bat.
It was the first time in eight games that the Marlins scored in the first inning.
“I’ll take [an early lead like that] every time,” Johnson said.
All eight of the Marlins starters — excluding Johnson — registered at least one hit, with Solano’s 3-for-4 stat line leading the way.
That is not to say that Johnson played no role in the scoring.
After showing for a bunt, Johnson slapped a ground ball to second baseman Rickie Weeks. Weeks mishandled the grounder and Donnie Murphy ran home to give Miami a 4-0 lead in the second inning.
Those two innings took some of the pressure off of Johnson, who gave up just one extra-base hit. Johnson was able to pitch out of a seventh inning jam — Milwaukee (67-70) had runners on second and third with no outs — by allowing only one run in that inning.
Both of the Brewers’ runs came off of sacrifice flies, one in the third and one in the seventh.
The Marlins added two more runs to their 4-2 lead in the seventh, with an RBI each from Dobbs and Murphy.
“We got after them early and went through a lull, but we were able to get some more there in the end,” Dobbs said. “It’s always nice to keep putting the pressure on them.”
Miami ends its nine-game home stand with a 3-6 record. The Marlins will travel to Washington on Friday to face Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.
Paid attendance for Thursday afternoon’s game was announced as 18,707, more than 3,000 below the Marlins’ previous season low.