Andrew Heaney took the mound 38 times while in the minors and never once lost back-to-back decisions. He can’t make that same claim as a big-leaguer.
Only two starts into his Marlins career, Heaney lost for a second time.
The young lefty got off to a shaky start at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, allowing three runs in the first as the Phillies pushed the Marlins below the .500 mark with a 7-4 victory.
Heaney eventually got on track, providing some proof why many believe he’s one of the top up-and-coming prospects in the majors.
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“Every one of those starts is going to be a learning experience for him,” manager Mike Redmond said. “There will be some growing points for him, but I liked a lot of things I saw.”
In his major-league debut last week, Heaney gave up a first-inning solo homer to the Mets’ David Wright before blanking New York the rest of the way in a 1-0 loss.
On Tuesday, it was Marlon Byrd’s two-run shot in the first inning that put Heaney in an early hole. A wild pitch — the first of a team-record four by Marlins pitchers — cost him another run.
After that, however, Heaney took charge, retiring 10 of 11 batters during one sequence, before coming out in the sixth.
“I saw some good things,” Redmond said. “I saw him make some in-game adjustments that I liked. For a young guy, I think he handled himself well out there. That’s kind of a trait that maybe not a lot of young guys have, is the ability to continue to pitch and make adjustments. Sometimes that’s tough for young guys.”
The Marlins have now gone 2-4 in the six combined starts by Heaney and fellow rookie Anthony DeSclafani, two pitchers the Marlins are not only counting on for the future, but are leaning on now to help solidify a wobbling rotation that is without Jose Fernandez for the remainder of the season.
Heaney’s biggest problem against the Phillies was his inability to throw his fastball for strikes consistently and hold base runners in check. Though he yielded only four hits, he hit a batter, walked two and uncorked two wild pitches.
The Phillies seemingly ran at will with Heaney on the mound, compounding problems for the 23-year-old former first-round draft pick.
After Heaney plunked Jimmy Rollins with a pitch in the first and issued a one-out walk to Chase Utley, the Phillies pulled off a double steal that worked to perfection. Not only was Rollins safe at third, but also he ended up scoring on catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s throwing error.
That error snapped a franchise-record 10-game errorless streak for the Marlins. But it wouldn’t be the last fielding miscue Monday for the Marlins, as Derek Dietrich later dropped a pop fly for another error that led to a Phillies run.
After walking in the second, Rollins stole yet another base off Heaney and Saltalamacchia, this time standing up without a throw.
Heaney wasn’t the only Marlins pitcher guilty of wildness.
Reliever Bryan Morris, after taking over for Heaney, unleashed two wild pitches in the sixth inning. One led directly to a run. The other came when he struck out Domonic Brown, allowing him to reach first.
Offensively, the Marlins scored their only runs on Utley’s dropped popup, Casey McGehee’s sacrifice fly and a Garrett Jones two-run homer in the eighth.
It was the 10th homer for Jones, giving the Marlins three players with 10 or more.