The Marlins haven’t hit the 100-loss mark yet — and they can thank the pitcher they got in the Hanley Ramirez trade for that.
Opening up the final homestand of the season, and one defeat shy of only the second 100-loss season in franchise history, the Marlins got 7 2/3 shutout innings Monday night from Nathan Eovaldi in a 4-0 victory over the Phillies at Marlins Park.
“We’ve had a long couple days there and with the doubleheader [Sunday in Washington] and getting back at 4 o’clock in the morning, so that’s exactly what we needed,” said manager Mike Redmond, whose team came home from an 11-game, 10-day road trip 3-8.
“We’ve seen that type of outing out of Nate a few times. You could just tell from that first inning on his breaking ball was sharp. His fastball was consistent, and he had nice tilt. You could just tell he had it going. It was just a matter of could we get him some runs and how long was he going to be able to go.”
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The Marlins (58-99) scored the only run Eovaldi needed in the first inning, taking advantage of four walks — including two dealt by Roy Halladay, who left the game with what the Phillies said was “a dead arm.”
The two-time Cy Young Award winner, who tossed a perfect game against the Marlins in 2010 and beat them just last week in Philadelphia, threw 16 pitches and faced only three batters before exiting.
“I watched the first at-bat of the game and seeing him at 83 miles an hour I was, like, this guy is not feeling good at all,” Redmond said. “Obviously, for all of us that have seen him so sharp and throwing hard, so tough to hit, it was tough.”
Eovaldi, who had a history of struggles against the Phillies (0-4 with a 5.40 ERA in five previous starts), gave up only three hits, walked two and struck out five, throwing 64 of his 109 pitches for strikes.
The only time the Phillies (71-85) put a runner in scoring position was in the sixth when Jimmy Rollins stroked a two-out double to right. Eovaldi ended the inning by getting Chase Utley to ground out to first.
The Marlins stretched the lead in the eighth on a pair of bases-loaded RBI singles by Donovan Solano and Ed Lucas, followed by a sacrifice fly by Christian Yelich.
“It felt real good,” Eovaldi said. “For the most part [the] fastball command was there. Later in the fifth, sixth inning I was falling behind the batters a lot. I was able to make pitches behind in the count when I needed to. The defense was there pretty much the entire game, chasing all the fly balls in the outfield.”
The story for the starting pitcher in the other locker room wasn’t as feel-good.
Halladay’s career could be nearing an end. One of only five pitchers in major-league history to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues, the 36-year-old is coming off shoulder surgery and is now done for the season with a 4-5 record and 6.82 ERA.
Chris Coghlan, who made two errors in Sunday night’s loss to the Nationals — including a grounder off his leg in the ninth that allowed the game winner to score — remained upbeat Monday about showing the Marlins he can be a viable option at third base.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” said Coghlan, who in seven starts at third has made three errors on 22 chances.
“Obviously, [Sunday] night those two errors really hurt us. But that’s part of the process. I hadn’t played it in four years. Then the first time playing it again I’m coming off the disabled list and hadn’t played at all in three months. I hope — for next year — I’ve proven that I can do it, and with more practice and more time and attention, I will only continue to get better.”
Coghlan, who is moving from Clearwater to Birmingham, Ala., in the offseason, said his plan is to take a lot of grounders at third this winter at a local college and then see infield coach Perry Hill in the spring.
Said Redmond: “I know what kind of guy he is and teammate, and he’ll do whatever it takes to contribute to this ballclub and that’s huge.”
: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (4-5, 4.05 ERA) vs. Philadelphia Phillies RHP Zach Miner (0-1, 3.22), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (1-1, 2.92) vs. Phillies LHP Cole Hamels, (8-14, 3.62), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
: Alvarez, who will pitch the final game of the season Sunday, has never faced the Phillies. Miner pitched three scoreless innings against the Marlins last week.