The road has been kind to the Marlins recently, though it hasn’t been very nice to Tom Koehler all season.
Koehler’s road woes continued Wednesday night. He gave up four runs in the first inning as the Marlins lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 at PNC Park.
Those were the only runs Koehler (7-9) allowed in six innings, but it was enough to send the Marlins to their fifth loss in seven games and snap their five-game road winning streak. They also dropped 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals in the National League East.
“I just put us in too big of a hole,” Koehler said. “You can’t spot a team like that four runs, especially on the road. I put the rest of the guys in a tough spot.”
Koehler gave five hits, walked four and struck out four while his road ERA rose to 5.05. Conversely, he has a 2.45 ERA at Marlins Park.
“It seems like the one big inning keeps biting Tom, and it did again [Wednesday night],” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “He did a good job of giving us six innings and saving that bullpen, but that four spot in the first inning changed everything about the game.”
While the Marlins lost, they at least did not set a rather ignominious — and obscure — major-league record. They had gone seven consecutive games with scoring only one run off the starting pitcher, matching the longest streak in history that was previously done by the Cleveland Indians in 1966.
The Marlins scored three runs off left-hander Jeff Locke (3-3) in the first two innings. Jeff Baker had an RBI single in the first, and Christian Yelich hit a two-run home run, his ninth, into the right-field stands in the second.
However, they still trailed 4-3 and did not score again. Locke wound up going seven innings for his first win against the Marlins in five career starts, and Tony Watson and Mark Melancon followed with one scoreless inning each.
Ike Davis hit a two-run double off Koehler in the bottom of the first, then Travis Snider brought home a run with a groundout before Jordy Mercer’s run-scoring single made it 4-1.
“I made some good pitches early in the inning that they hit, but then I started falling behind in the count and had to come in with my fastball,” Koehler said. “They’re a very good fastball-hitting team. You don’t want to put them in fastball-hitting counts the way I did.”
The Pirates broke the game open after Koehler left, as they scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning — two charged to Chris Hatcher and one to Mike Dunn — to increase their lead to 7-3.
Russell Martin singled in a run, and former Marlin Gaby Sanchez followed with a two-run, opposite-field double to right.
Baker had two of the Marlins’ six hits.
The Pirates’ Josh Harrison had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and also scored in the first and seventh innings.