‘Vulture’ reliever Mike Dunn swooping in to lead Miami Marlins in wins
08/03/2014 6:56 PM
08/03/2014 6:57 PM
Marlins reliever Mike Dunn has a new nickname: The Vulture.
Bullpen buddy A.J. Ramos was flapping his arms Sunday morning, a day after Dunn tied a team record with nine wins as a reliever this season. Saturday night, Dunn swooped in to get the final two outs in the top of the 10th inning, earning the “W’’ when Christian Yelich hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the inning.
“At this point in the season as long as the W’s are going to someone on our team, that’s all that matters,” Dunn said. “They all make fun of me. … They all came in [Saturday] night flapping their wings.”
Edward Mujica was the last reliever to earn nine wins in 2011, and Robb Nen did it in 1997. Dunn is now fourth in Marlins history with 17 career wins as a reliever. He is a win away from doubling his career high for a season, which he set in 2011 with five.
After earning Saturday’s victory, Dunn said others joked that he was only 11 games away from being a 20-game winner, but he said he would be fine staying at nine.
“I prefer to get holds and let the starters collect the wins,” Dunn said.
Dunn earned Saturday’s win by striking out both Billy Hamilton and Jay Bruce, stranding an inherited runner at third.
“Coming into the game in that situation, I had a one-track mind,” Dunn said. “With Billy Hamilton, I couldn’t let him put the ball in play. … I was able to get ahead of him — execute my first two pitches and then I had a little room to make a couple pitches outside the strike zone and get him to chase.
“With Bruce … I ultimately got ahead of him and felt pretty good and was able to get him to chase a pitch out of the zone, too.”
Dunn has now logged five appearances without surrendering an earned run, lowering his ERA to 3.79 on the year. Four of his wins have come since the start of July.
Henderson Alvarez is second on the team with eight wins.
SALTY OUT AGAIN
Jarrod Saltalamacchia was not in the starting lineup for a second consecutive game Sunday. Manager Mike Redmond said Saturday that the catcher was dealing with a sore back, but Saltalamacchia said he feels fine.
“I don’t know what that’s about,” Saltalamacchia said before Sunday’s game. “My back feels great.”
He added that Redmond told him Saturday night that Jeff Mathis would be starting Sunday without giving a specific reason.
Asked if he was antsy to return to the starting lineup, Saltalamacchia said he was.
“Yeah, of course,” he said. “I’m watching our team play great right now, and it’s fun to be a part of it.”
Saltalamacchia had not missed two consecutive games since he returned June 19 after he was struck by a foul ball.
In his past 10 games, Saltalamacchia has hit .250. He was 0 for 4 in his last appearance Friday.
Mathis went 2 for 4 Sunday after hitting .097 in his previous 10 appearances.
COMING UP• Monday : Off.
• Tuesday : Marlins LHP Brad Hand (2-3, 4.15 ERA) at Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Charlie Morton (5-10, 3.54), 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
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