The Marlins completed their season-long, 11-day, 10-game road trip Sunday afternoon without much for their moms to cheer about.
Wearing pink wrist bands, using pink bats and swinging at balls with pink stitching — in what has become a Major League Baseball tradition on Mother’s Day — did nothing to change their fortunes as the worst-scoring team in the game dropped a 5-3 decision in front of 43,959 at Dodger Stadium.
Justin Ruggiano’s solo home run to left field off Chris Capuano in the sixth, and a two-out, two-run double by Adeiny Hechavarria in the ninth was the only offense for the Marlins (11-27), who completed the road trip 3-7.
Miami, held to two runs or less in seven games during the trip, produced eight hits Sunday to raise its average on the road trip to .205 (66 of 322). They scored 29 runs total since leaving Miami on May 1 — 14 of those came in one game.
“It’s the same stuff we’ve been talking about all year. We’re pitching on pins and needles, 2-1 games trying to hold them down just to give ourselves a chance to make a rally,” manager Mike Redmond said. “That’s tough. That’s tough on the bullpen and tough on the offense.”
Tom Koehler, whose family huddled around an iPad back home in New Jersey to watch him make his second big-league start and first of the season, took the loss. He gave up two earned runs and seven hits over five innings on 79 pitches.
Koehler, who moved into the rotation to replace the struggling Wade LeBlanc, had not started since he faced Triple A Round Rock (Texas) on April 14. He surrendered a solo home run to Scott Van Slyke — the son of former Pirates All-Star outfielder Andy Van Slyke and someone Koehler said he had faced often in the minors — to open the second inning. Nick Punto then hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth to give the Dodgers (15-21) a 2-0 lead.
“I thought he did a nice job,” Redmond said. “I thought he had command of his off-speed pitches and was throwing 95 [mph], too, which always helps. He gave up a couple runs but kept us in the game.”
The two-run lead was more than enough support for Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano. He went 6 1/3 innings, struck out seven and gave up five hits to pick up his first win of the season and lower his ERA from 10.38 to 6.60. The success against the Marlins was nothing new for Capuano, who tossed eight shutout innings of two-hit ball in a 5-0 win at Marlins Park last year.
“He mixes pitches well, kept us off balance,” Ruggiano said. “I think one at-bat I saw six changeups. When they’re good changeups, it’s tough to hit. But I think we should have done a little better against him, personally.”
The Marlins had a chance to tie the score in the seventh when rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich reached on a one-out double to left.
But reliever Kenley Jansen quickly extinguished that rally when he struck out Hechavarria and pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan.
The Dodgers then tacked on three more runs off John Rauch and Mike Dunn in the bottom half of the seventh to distance themselves. The Marlins bullpen had been performing well to that point, having given up just 13 earned runs over its past 48 2/3 innings — the third-lowest ERA in the majors dating to April 24.
Marlins rookie right fielder Marcell Ozuna had another stellar day on the field and at the plate. He singled twice and made the defensive play of the day in the first inning when he caught a fly ball in right and fired a perfect strike to third base to nail the speedy Carl Crawford.
It was Ozuna’s third outfield assist of the season, putting him in a tie for the lead among National League right fielders after just 12 games played.
“It was a great throw,” Redmond said. “We’re talking [a] Vladimir Guerrero-type arm.”
Veteran utility man Nick Green made his first career start at first base for the Marlins. Before Sunday, Green had played just one inning at first in his career, in 2006 with the Yankees.