Giancarlo Stanton’s aim was truer than Tom Koehler’s.
While Stanton threw out two runners with pinpoint-accurate throws on Sunday, Koehler’s throwing misfire on a potential inning-ending double play came back to haunt him in the Marlins’ 6-3 setback to the Reds.
“That play probably ended up costing us the game,” Koehler said.
The loss prevented the Marlins from completing their first sweep of the Reds in Cincinnati in 14 years.
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Koehler gave up three home runs.
But none of those pitches proved as costly as his throwing miscue in the fifth when the Reds stretched a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 advantage.
With runners at the corners and one out, Koehler fielded Joey Votto’s bouncer. But he overshot his throw to Dee Gordon at second for the force, and the Reds capitalized, with Billy Hamilton scoring from third on the play and the Reds adding another run on Scooter Gennett’s RBI single.
“If he makes the throw, that’s a double play,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Obviously, that’s pretty much the turning point in the game.”
‘A bad throw’
Said Koehler: “Just a bad throw. I did everything you’re not supposed to do. I rushed. I had a lot more time than I thought I had. And I threw it away. You’ve got to at least get one there, and if you get two there, it totally changes the momentum on our side. So for me, that was just completely unacceptable.”
Koehler’s record fell to 1-5 while his ERA held steady at 7.92, higher than only Bartolo Colon’s 8.19 ERA among major-league starters who have thrown at least 40 innings.
The long ball continues to be a problem for Koehler, who has given up 15 homers in 55 2/3 innings. His average of 2.42 home runs allowed per nine innings is the fourth-worst figure in the Majors.
“Everything’s been frustrating,” Koehler said. “I feel like things are getting on a roll a little bit, and then make that error. I feel like I’m throwing the ball better than the box score shows and at some point the ball’s got to bounce in the other direction.”
The home runs — all three of which barely got out in a ballpark that is unforgiving to pitchers — didn’t bother Koehler as much as his throwing error.
“Solo homers happen,” Koehler said. “You can live with them, especially here.”
The Marlins struggled offensively against Reds rookie Sal Romano, who was making only his fourth big-league start and brought a 7.50 ERA into Sunday.
The heart of the order for the Marlins — Stanton, Christian Yelich, Justin Bour and Derek Dietrich — combined to go 1 for 11. Romano held the Marlins to three total hits over six innings. One of those was an A.J. Ellis solo homer. But the 23-year-old right-hander retired the final seven batters he faced before yielding to the bullpen.
“He pretty much overpowered us,” Mattingly said of Romano. “He was just better than us. I guess the bad news is we’re going to turn around and get these guys again [next week in Miami]. So we’ll see if we can make adjustments.”
Miguel Rojas and Marcell Ozuna made it 6-3 in the seventh with back-to-back RBI singles off Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen. But the Marlins could get no closer.