A daring baserunning gamble by the Milwaukee Brewers’ Carlos Gomez resulted in a big payoff.
But not for Gomez and the Brewers.
The Marlins squeaked out a 2-1 victory on Saturday, an outcome that brought starting pitcher Jacob Turner’s long dry spell to an end. It was Turner’s first mound win after a drought of 17 unsuccessful starts dating to July 10 of last season.
And they have Gomez partly to thank.
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While Turner delivered 6 1/3 scoreless innings, he received help from Christian Yelich in the sixth when the Marlins left fielder threw out Gomez as he tried to advance an extra base on Mark Reynolds’ two-out single.
Not only was Gomez nailed at third, but he was tagged out right before Ryan Braun crossed home plate with what would have been the tying run.
“Huge play,” Turner said.
Gomez expressed surprise that Braun failed to score before he was thrown out at third. Both Brewers are playing with injuries.
Yelich said he knew he didn’t have a chance for a play at the plate on Braun. But when he spotted Gomez taking off for third, he decided to throw there.
“I kind of saw [Gomez] run right in front of my face as I was going to get the ball,” Yelich said. “I decided to make the play at third and see what happens — and ended up getting him before the run scored.”
That one run turned out to be the difference.
“That was a great read by Yeli, and it ended up being a huge run for us,” manager Mike Redmond said.
But Redmond was even more pleased with the performance turned in by Turner, who has struggled to make a good showing in the Marlins’ rotation since coming over from Detroit in the 2012 trade with the Tigers.
His career record with the Marlins entering Saturday: 4-14 in 38 starts.
“I feel like I’ve been pitching well the last three or four times out,” Turner said. “The results are the results, but I feel confident out there and I feel each time I’m getting better.”
Saturday’s win didn’t exactly come easily.
Turner received only one run of offensive support during the time he was on the mound, that coming on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s RBI double in the second. But he then had to wait out some shaky relief work and even shakier defense.
A.J. Ramos was brought in to pitch the eighth for the Marlins but was unable to complete the inning after giving up a pair of hits, which was fueled by a Saltalamacchia throwing error to first when Gomez swung at strike three.
After Ramos got Reynolds on an infield pop for the second out of the eighth, Redmond summoned closer Steve Cishek, who already had one four-out save to his name this season.
Cishek needed only four pitches to strike out Scooter Gennett to end the eighth, then received an outstanding defensive play by third baseman Casey McGehee for the first out of the ninth. McGehee dived to his left to rob Khris Davis of a leadoff single.
Cishek retired the final two batters to preserve the win.
The Marlins are now 10-7 in one-run decisions this season.
For Turner, the outcome could turn into a much-needed confidence lift.
“I hope it reaffirms the fact how good of stuff that he has, that he can pitch and win at this level,” Redmond said. “Whatever it takes for him to get that consistency is what we need. He can win here. But it’s up to him, and [Saturday] was a great step in that direction, hopefully.”