Adam Conley is no Brian Boitano or Scott Hamilton. He hardly looks like an Olympic figure skater. But standing in front of his locker after defeating the Brewers, Conley compared his pitching motion to that of a skater’s.
He spoke of how, by looking at films of his outings from last year, he changed the way he lifted his leg to start his delivery, and how that translated into simply throwing better stuff.
“I noticed something that I was doing from last year that felt a lot more athletic, a lot more powerful, I guess, that we had just been missing,” Conley said after the Marlins’ 7-4 victory. “If you think of an ice skater, they spin faster when they’re close.”
Or, simply put: “I think I was a lot more like myself, which is something I’ve been searching for all year,” he said.
Conley came within four outs of no-hitting the Brewers at Miller Park last season. He wasn’t quite that sensational Saturday. But he was good enough to get the job done and help the Marlins snap a six-game losing streak.
The Marlins put themselves in position to, with a win on Sunday, end their long and winding road trip with a series win over a Brewers team that is fighting to reach the postseason.
In fact, manager Don Mattingly’s instructions to the Marlins going into the series was to treat it like it was their playoffs.
Whether his message was what inspired them Saturday is impossible to know. But the Marlins showed some early life by scoring four first-inning runs on six singles against Zach Davies, the kind of nibbler who has given them trouble in the past.
“He can pick the corners and not give you something to hit in the middle,” said Derek Dietrich, who delivered one of the first-inning singles and later clanged a two-run homer off the foul pole against Davies. “He’s not going to come after you with heaters all the time. Those guys that throw soft stuff give us trouble.”
That wasn’t the case Saturday.
The Marlins scored six runs off Davies (17-9) and knocked him out after the fourth.
Meanwhile, Conley was doing his thing.
He gave up a first-inning run, but then settled down and held the Brewers scoreless over the next four innings. It wasn’t until the sixth, when Conley gave up back-to-back home runs to Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw to start the inning, that he started to lose steam.
But he did enough to earn his first win since Aug. 20.
The Marlins can’t wait to go home. Their real home. The one in Miami.
It’s been a long road trip for the Marlins, who traveled to Atlanta and Philadelphia before Hurricane Irma forced them to move their home series with the Brewers to Milwaukee.
It has hardly been a fun adventure, either. They entered Saturday having lost 16 of their previous 18 games. But they turned six first-inning singles into four runs and held on for a win over the playoff-contending Brewers.
“It hasn’t really clicked the way we’ve wanted to these last 10 games,” Dietrich said. “We’re trying to play our best ball against a good team. Not trying to spoil, just trying to win games.”
Every position player in the Marlins lineup had at least one hit Saturday. Justin Bour went 2 for 3 with two RBI. Dee Gordon reached on a bunt and infield hit, and scored his 100th run of the season.
The Marlins finally looked like the team that won 13 of 16 before going into a sudden nosedive.
-- Ichiro Suzuki struck out in what was his 100th pinch-hitting plate appearance of the season. The previous Major League record for most pinch-hit plate appearances in a season was 94, which was set in 1983 by Rusty Staub.
-- Demand for tickets was so great for Saturday’s game that the Brewers opened the upper deck at Miller Park. The crowd of 25,079 consisted entirely of walk-up ticket sales.
-- With his seventh-inning steal of second, Gordon now has as many stolen bases as Giancarlo Stanton has home runs: 54. Gordon now trails the Reds’ Billy Hamilton by four steals for the NL lead. Hamilton has been out since Sept. 6 with an injury.