Marlins can’t solve Lee; Slowey injured in defeat
The Marlins have the worst offense in all of baseball, so it wasn’t much fun watching them flail — and mostly fail — Wednesday night against Philadelphia ace Cliff Lee.
Lee picked up the 12th shutout of his storied career and first since 2011 as the 34-year-old lefty tossed a three-hit gem in beating the Marlins 3-0 in Miami.
The 2008 Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, Lee must have been salivating when looking up and down the Miami roster as he efficiently worked his way through it.
The Marlins have been shut out nine times in 47 games — 19 percent of this season. Miami has also been held to one run or fewer 17 times (36 percent).
The Marlins became so desperate to get something — anything — going against Lee that Chris Coghlan tried to tag up from first on a fly ball to right in the fifth inning.
Miami was down 1-0 at the time. Coghlan was not successful in getting into scoring position as Delmon Young gunned him down sliding into second.
“[Coghlan] was just trying to be aggressive,” manager Mike Redmond said. “The ball was deep, and it was a nice throw. He was just trying to get something going. Sometimes guys go out there and try too much. He was trying to make a play, and it didn’t work out.”
Whether Coghlan was safe or not probably didn’t matter, as two of Miami’s hits off Lee didn’t leave the infield grass. Lee, by going 2 for 4, had as many hits as the Marlins did until Derek Dietrich chopped one toward second with two outs in the ninth.
Miami looked to get something going early as Lee lost control but for a moment or two. Lee (5-2) put the Marlins down in order on nine pitches in the first, but he loaded the bases in the second.
Marcell Ozuna led the second off by beating out an infield chopper that Lee couldn’t gather up. Justin Ruggiano then walked, and Coghlan took one for the team off his back.
Yet despite having the bases loaded and no outs, the Marlins couldn’t cash in off Lee. Nick Green slapped one to third baseman Michael Young, who went home for the force. Catcher Erik Kratz went to first to get Green and finish the double play.
Jeff Mathis then popped up to second to end the inning.
“We had that one opportunity to score and didn’t do it,” Redmond said. “And that was it. [Lee] was pretty good working the ball in and out on guys. They got the big hits, and we didn’t.”
Lee set down eight consecutive Marlins before walking Coghlan to lead off the fifth.
Miami got its first hit of the night on Ozuna’s hack in the second and didn’t get another until pinch-hitter Miguel Olivo singled to lead off the sixth. He was taken down on a fielder’s choice from Adeiny Hechavarria a few pitches later.
The Marlins didn’t come that close to second until Dietrich was allowed to steal second in the ninth.
The Marlins got a good start from Kevin Slowey (1-5), who gave up six hits in five innings. Philadelphia’s only run off Slowey came when Young dropped an 0-2 pitch just in front of the left-field sculpture with two outs in the fourth.
Slowey left the game after the fifth, saying he strained a side muscle during the fourth inning. Slowey was worked on during the bottom of the fourth and fifth and said he couldn’t go in the sixth.
Slowey said he was told the injury doesn’t appear to be serious.
“My hope was to be able to go back out for the sixth; my pitch count was pretty low,” Slowey said. “But I didn’t want to go out there and not give my team a chance to compete. … Our [doctor] got his hands on me and said it’s not something severe, not serious. It’s probably more a cramp than a sprain.”
Wade LeBlanc came in for the sixth and rang up the first two Phillies he faced before getting into some trouble.
With two outs, Young reached on an infield single then came home when Domonic Brown laced a triple off the center-field wall. Brown scored to make it 3-0 on a single by Freddy Galvis.
The Marlins, who lost the final two games of the three-game set against the Phillies, went 2-7 on their nine-game homestand. Miami travels to Chicago on Thursday and will face the White Sox beginning Friday.