Which screen do you want to click on when it comes to the Marlins?
On the little screen, there’s the Marlins acting as WD-40 for Philadelphia’s slumping, creaky lineup in a 6-2 loss on Sunday.
In front of the usual Sunday crowd filled with youth baseball teams and families, the game metamorphosed into Grown Folks Sunday in the Park.
Ryan Howard, 35 and hitting .177, went 2 for 4 with two RBI. Grady Sizemore, 32, went 2 for 5 with an RBI. The Marlins’ 41-year-old Ichiro Suzuki picked up a hit, and his two stolen bases led to the first Marlins run.
On the big screen, the loss ended a 7-2 homestand that (for now) silenced talk of firing Marlins manager Mike Redmond.
The team leaves for a 10-game, 10-day, two-coast road trip tied for second place, 3 1/2 games behind the surprising Mets in the National League East.
“Everyone had us dead, buried 10 days ago,” Redmond said. “So we never panicked.”
Losing pitcher Jarred Cosart (1-2, 2.97 ERA) said: “I was hoping to finish off the homestand on a positive. That didn’t happen, but we’ve still got a lot of momentum heading to play three really good teams [Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles] on the road.”
The Marlins hit .323 as a team in the first eight games of this homestand. Second baseman Dee Gordon hit .645 and took over the National League lead in hitting. While they found their bats, they also evaporated the other sides’. Marlins starting pitchers came into Sunday allowing the fewest hits in the NL.
Between all that and the usual coaching conservatism — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, don’t even think about touching it, don’t breathe on it — eyebrows furrowed when Redmond decided to rest Gordon on Sunday. Redmond also rested Martin Prado and his injured hamstring.
That put brothers Donovan and Jhonatan Solano in the same major-league lineup for the first time.
Redmond said after the game that he had no second thoughts about sitting Gordon. But the Marlins managed only five hits and two runs in five innings off Severino Gonzalez, a right-hander with an ERA coming into the game that looked more like dinner for two at La Carreta (23.63).
In Gonzalez’s last inning, Donovan Solano singled and Jhonatan doubled him home to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead with nobody out. But Cosart fouled off a bunt attempt with two strikes, and an Ichiro groundout and an Adeiny Hechavarria fly out ended the inning.
“For me, the game came down to that sixth inning and the fifth,” Redmond said. “[Cosart] had a chance to get that bunt down and maybe add on a run. Then, he just couldn’t get through the sixth. Had he got through that inning, he set up pretty well to get through the game. But it just didn’t happen.”
Cosart hit Darin Ruf to start the Philadelphia sixth, putting a runner on for Howard. Howard’s first two at-bats ended with him swinging fruitlessly. But the third time, Cosart got behind Howard 2-0, and the former All-Star ripped a shot to center field.
When center fielder Marcell Ozuna’s personal GPS failed him, his poor angle let the ball roll all the way to the wall. Howard’s triple led to another run when Sizemore singled him home.
Cosart’s day was done.
“I came with the heater,” Cosart said. “[Howard] had probably seen seven to 10 throughout the course of the whole game. I struck him out the first at-bat, I threw him all fastballs. Got him with the changeup the second time. But the majority of pitches he saw were fastballs. Same thing with Sizemore. Both away. I probably could’ve sequenced them differently.
“Third time through the meat of the order, a lot of good hitters, I don’t care what they’re hitting right now,” Cosart added. “I’ve got to locate better. And you can’t get behind and have them know a fastball’s coming. I kind of was rushing. Maybe a 2-0 changeup would’ve been good there. I had a feel for it. Live and learn.”
The Phillies added two runs in the seventh when two RBI singles followed a Donovan Solano error that kept Philadelphia’s one-out rally going.