Wild-card chances diminish as Miami Marlins fall to Angels

08/28/2014 1:43 AM

08/28/2014 2:26 AM

Adeiny Hechavarria wasn’t himself on Wednesday. Henderson Alvarez wasn’t, either.

The result was a 6-1 Marlins loss to the Los Angeles Angels that further dampened their slim wild-card playoff chances. The Marlins have now lost four of their past five on a road trip that shifts east to Atlanta on Friday.

“We were tested here against a playoff team,” said manager Mike Redmond after losing for a second straight to the Angels. “The first night we answered the test and the last two nights, we didn’t. We understand with a month to go, we’ve got to step it up, and we’ve got to be able to win ballgames against playoff-caliber teams.”

Hechavarria hit his first home run on what was his 431st at bat of the season, a rare display of power by the Marlins’ light-hitting shortstop. But the solo shot turned out to be the Marlins’ only run.

And Alvarez was unable to make good of it.

Hechavarria barely had a chance to savor his first blast, a third-inning shot to center, when the Angels went to work on Alvarez, coming up with three runs in the third and another in the fourth on a Gordon Beckham homer.

“I thought that would kind of be the spark for us,” Redmond said of Hechavarria’s home run. “But then we come back and give up three. It seems like we don’t respond really well when we get down and have to climb back from a big number.”

It was the second straight outing for Alvarez that didn’t go well.

Though he managed to emerge with a win in Colorado last week, he gave up four runs on 10 hits — including a pair of homers — in only six innings.

In Wednesday’s rubber match of the three-game inter league series, he wasn’t a whole lot better. Alvarez, who emerged as the ace of the Marlins’ pitching staff in the absence of Jose Fernandez, didn’t look like one at Angel Stadium.

Or at least the first-place Angels didn’t allow him to pitch like one early on.

“Tough lineup,” Alvarez said. “This is a lineup where you have to go in hitter by hitter and make your pitches.”

In the third inning alone, Alvarez gave up four hits and hit a batter.

Beckham, who arrived to the Angels in a trade with the White Sox a few days ago, and batted in the ninth spot for Los Angeles, started things in the third with an infield single — his first base hit with his new team — and followed that with a home run in the fourth.

Mike Trout brought Alvarez’s night to a sudden and emphatic end in the seventh with his 30th home run. The blast put Trout in select company, making him only the fourth American League player to register multiple 30 home run seasons before the age of 22. The others: Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Alex Rodriguez and Jose Canseco.

Over the final two games of the series, the Marlins were able to retire Trout just once in his nine trips to the plate.

“Obviously he’s good,” Redmond said. “It was pretty impressive. He has great plate discipline. It’s a nice piece.”

It was the second straight game Alvarez gave up two homers and the first time in his career that he has given up more than one home run in back-to-back games.

Alvarez gave up only four runs in his first 17 games.

Angels starter hector Santiago picked up where Matt Shoemaker left off Tuesday, all but shutting down the Marlins’ offense. The Marlins, who avoided a shutout in Tuesday’s 8-2 loss by finally scoring with two outs in the ninth, weren’t anymore productive on Wednesday.

Santiago held them to three hits over 5 2/3 innings, and the Marlins finished with a total of seven one night after being held to six.

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