The drought is over.
After going 37 innings without scoring a run -- the longest dry spell in the majors in nearly three decades -- the Marlins on Monday ended the skid when Ed Lucas did what no Marlins base runner had done in over a week.
He crossed home plate.
Lucas scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s RBI double in the first inning, and the Marlins went on to defeat the Colorado Rockies, 3-1. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak.
"You could sense the relief in the dugout," Lucas said. "I think it was important for us to do it early today, to get that monkey off our back and go back to our game."
The scoreless drought had become the headline topic, and a very dispiriting one for the Marlins. They had last scored on Derek Dietrich’s home run in the fourth inning of a 10-inning loss to Washington on July 14, the day before the All-Star break.
Upon their return from the break, the Brewers blanked them three times in Milwaukee for a series sweep, with the finale culminating Sunday in a stinging 1-0 loss in 13 innings.
The 37-inning scoreless streak was the longest in the majors since the Houston Astros went 42 innings without producing a run during the 1985 season. The Marlins didn’t allow their drought to linger that long.
After Lucas singled with one out in the first, Stanton cracked a 1-1 fastball from Drew Pomeranz into the right-center field gap, enabling Lucas to score easily from first.
Two batters later, Placido Polanco made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.
The Marlins took a 3-0 lead in the third on a Lucas home run that was hit so high and far that Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez didn’t leave his tracks. It was the second career homer for Lucas, a 31-year-old rookie out of Dartmouth.
The Marlins totaled only 15 hits the entire Milwaukee series, which covered 31 innings. And only one of those hits was for extra bases.
The end to the scoring streak overshadowed a strong outing by Marlins starter Tom Koehler, who turned in one of his finest performances. Koehler gave up a solo homer to Troy Tulowitzki in the fourth, but that was the only run he gave up over his seven innings.
Koehler, who was making his first start for the Marlins since July 2, struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.
"Fortunately, I spent some time in the PCL (Pacific Coast League) where I got to play at some higher altitude parks," Koehler said. "What I did learn is when you're trying to throw a breaking ball or a change up, when you try to do too much with them, they just continue to spin. So all it is about sitting your sights a little bit lower than where you normally throw them."
Chad Qualls took over in the eighth and worked a scoreless inning as he continued to enhance his trade value. Qualls has not allowed a run in his past eight appearances and, with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline quickly approaching, there’s a good chance he won’t be in a Marlins uniform for much longer.
Steve Cishek closed out the win for his 18th save.
But it was the struggling lineup that finally gained some satisfaction. Lucas, Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Placido Polanco each had two hits, while sizzling hot Adeiny Hechavarria bunted his way aboard in the seventh for his only hit.
Prospects called up
Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick -- two of the most promising young prospects in the Marlins' farm system - will be making their way to the Mile High City on Tuesday and make their big league debuts.
Yelich, the Marlins' No. 2 ranked prospect by Baseball America, will start in left with Marisnick in center.
To make room for the two outfielders, the Marlins optioned infielder Derek Dietrich and outfielder Marcell Ozuna to Double A Jacksonville.
"I want to make this really clear, that the offensive woes of this team I don't want attributed to them," said Larry Beinfest, president of baseball operations, in making the announcement. "That's not why this is happening. Those kids did an incredible job. We rushed them here to the big leagues out of need. They had almost no Double A experience, and they did a great job for us."
But it was clear in watching their at bats in Milwaukee that Dietrich and Ozuna were struggling badly.
"We just thought it warranted a time to go down to the minor leagues and work on some offensive things on both their parts," Beinfest said. "We asked a lot of them, putting them in the middle of the lineup. They're part of our future, and part of our future is coming as well."
Yelich and Marisnick started Monday for Jacksonville but were each taken out after reaching base in the third inning.
The Marlins have had high hopes for Yelich after since they drafted him in the first round in 2010. They acquired Marisnick among a package of players in the blockbuster deal with Toronto last November.
"This is a good time to bring them and have them bet the experience," Beinfest said. "As a general rule, we don't like sitting young players, and they're not coming here to sit."
The Marlins will have to make room for Yelich and Marisnick on the 40-man roster, most likely with players already on the disabled list, Beinfest said.• Angel Sanchez, one of the three minor-league pitchers the Marlins received from the Dodgers in the Ricky Nolasco trade, started and worked six innings on Monday in a combined no-hitter for Single A Jupiter. Sanchez, a 23-year-old right-hander, struck out three while walking two.
Colby Suggs and James Nygren pitched the final three innings to complete the no-hitter.
Sanchez has made three starts for Jupiter since the July 6 trade with Los Angeles, going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA.• While the Marlins finally ended their team scoring drought, Justin Ruggiano remained in his hitting slump. Ruggiano went 0 for 4 Monday and has now been hitless in his past 31 at bats. The team record is 33 at bats without a hit, held by Mike Jacobs.