One bad inning brought a fitting end to one bad road trip for the Marlins — both on the field and off — when they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Giants on Sunday to close out the series.
The Marlins went 4-7 on a trip in which they also lost pitching ace Jose Fernandez for the season, but still managed to return home with a winning record overall.
The Giants scored three runs in the first off Jacob Turner, who then turned into a different pitcher after that and retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced. But the damage had been done and the Marlins couldn’t recover under a cloudless sky at AT&T Park.
“It’s been an emotional road trip,” said manager Mike Redmond, alluding to the loss of Fernandez to an arm injury that resulted in Tommy John surgery.
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It was a road trip that might have turned out even worse had the Marlins not recovered somewhat. After starting out 1-5, the Marlins went 3-2 over the final five games.
With a win Sunday, they would have taken the series from the Giants.
But Turner got off to a poor start. Though he managed to gain the upper hand early in the count, going either 0-2 or 1-2 to six of the first eight Giants that he faced, he still gave up four hits and hit a batter in the inning.
“We’ve had counts where we’ve been ahead of guys and haven’t been able to finish them,” Redmond said. “And that’s definitely something you’ve got to be able to do to survive in the big leagues. When you get ahead of these guys, you’ve got to be able to finish them.”
Turner put Giants leadoff hitter Gregor Blanco into an 0-2 hole, only to hit him with the next pitch. After Buster Posey scored Blanco with a sacrifice fly, Turner gave up four consecutive two-out singles, which brought two more runners across the plate for the Giants.
“They had some good pitches they got hits on,” Turner said. “There were a couple of mistakes in the inning. The leadoff guy, you don’t want to him him 0-2. But a lot of quality pitches that inning.”
After the rough first inning, Turner settled down. He gave up only two hits over his final five innings, an infield single in the second to Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and a solo homer in the fifth to Pablo Sandoval. Otherwise, he was close to perfect. He struck out seven from the second inning through the sixth.
“That’s how he can pitch,” Redmond said. “We’ve seen that. “We’ve seen spurts of that.”
Nonetheless, Turner remained winless in 18 career starts on the road. He is now 0-11 on the road.
Redmond had intended to give Giancarlo Stanton the day off on Sunday and left him out of the starting lineup. Stanton has not missed a game all season, and Redmond had been vowing to give him a break.
“He’s banged up, been running around a lot in the outfield, and everybody needs a blow,” Redmond said.
With Stanton on the bench, the Marlins’ lineup struggled to get anything going against Vogelsong. They had runners at second and third in the fifth, but Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford made a diving stop up the middle, robbing Adeiny Hechavarria of a base hit that probably would have scored both runners.
But their best chance came in the eighth.
After Hechavarria singled to start the inning and Derek Dietrich doubled, Christian Yelich scored a run with a ground ball out. Casey McGehee followed with an infield single, which brought up Garrett Jones.
Jones battled through a tough, 10-pitch at bat against Giants reliever Santiago Casillo, fouling off four consecutive two-strike pitches. One of those Jones lined down the line in right for a foul ball that missed by inches of going into the corner for extra bases.
“As soon as I hit it, I barreled it, but I hooked it a little bit,” Jones said. “So I knew it was probably going to go foul by just a little bit.”
But Casilla eventually struck out Jones on a sinker.
Redmond then sent up Stanton to pinch-hit with two outs. But Stanton lofted an easy fly ball to right for the third out. Stanton is now 1 for 13 in his career as a pinch-hitter with no home runs.
“I tried to stay away from him, keep him out of that game,” Redmond said. “But, at that point, that was our shot, to try to get a big hit and get back in the game.”
It didn’t happen, and the Marlins headed home after playing 21 consecutive days.
“We’ll take the day off [Monday] and go get ’em at home,” Redmond said.