Bullpen blowups brought about losses on back-to-back days for the Marlins, the latest occurring Wednesday when Cody Ross rocked Mike Dunn with a knockout homer in the ninth inning.
That pinch-hit blast in a 3-1 Arizona victory followed by one day Paul Goldschmidt’s walk-off winner off Chad Qualls and enabled the Diamondbacks to take two out of three games from the Marlins
But those gut punches weren’t what most annoyed manager Mike Redmond.
It was — aside from Giancarlo Stanton’s power display in the first game of the series Monday — the collective failure of the entire lineup throughout the three-game series.
The Marlins scored only six runs in the three games. They didn’t get on the board at all Wednesday until the ninth, when Justin Ruggiano led off the inning with a solo homer off Heath Bell.
“Really, other than Stanton getting the big hits the first night, we didn’t really get anything going offensively the whole series,” Redmond said. “It’s been like that all year, where it seems like we have a couple of games where we swing the bats like I think we’re capable of, and then we just get shut down.”
What especially frustrated Redmond and the Marlins on Wednesday was that they knocked out Arizona starter Trevor Cahill after only one inning. Cahill was struck in the hip by a sharp grounder up the middle in the first and was lifted two pitches into the second when it became apparent the bruise that remained was bothering him.
Josh Collmenter was summoned from the Diamondbacks bullpen on short notice and held the Marlins to one hit over the next six innings.
“Looked to me like he was throwing some pretty good pitches to hit,” Redmond said. “I was surprised he shut us down that many innings.”
Marlins starter Jose Fernandez fired another gem Wednesday, but to no avail.
Fernandez was sharp, limiting the Diamondbacks to only three hits over 7 1/3 innings but came out after giving up two walks — the only walks he issued all afternoon — in the eighth. Dunn took over and gave up a pinch-hit, three-run homer to Ross on a 1-2 slider.
“Fernandez pitched his butt off,” Dunn said. “One pitch and it’s like, throw the whole outing away that he just had.”
Fernandez was visibly disappointed, staring into his locker for minutes afterward before allowing reporters to speak with him.
“Things like that happen,” Fernandez said. “It’s not going to be the first time. It’s not going to be the last time. It will happen again for sure.”
Fernandez was impressive, just as Nathan Eovaldi was the night before in a losing performance.
“He was great,” Redmond said of Fernandez. “He’s a monster out there. It’s fun to watch him but frustrating we couldn’t get him a couple of runs and win the ballgame, because he throws it out there every time.
“He’s special. That’s a good lineup, and he carved through those guys pretty good.”
The Diamondbacks totaled only 16 hits over the three games but somehow managed to win two of the three games.
“We’re pitching on pins and needles out there, where we can’t give up a hit or we lose the game, and that’s tough,” Redmond said.
Still, even after the Ross homer, the Marlins put a scare into Arizona. Or, at least Bell did. The former closer for the Marlins had fans at Chase Field squirming in their seats when he gave up a leadoff homer to Ruggiano, followed by a single and walk to Ed Lucas and Stanton, respectively.
But Bell managed to hold on, retiring the next three batters to preserve the win.