Dan Haren was close-to-perfect for five scoreless innings on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Haren and the Marlins, those five scoreboard zeroes followed a damaging first inning in which the Colorado Rockies scored three runs on a pair of homers in their 4-1 victory at Marlins Park.
The loss prevented the Marlins from completing a four-game sweep.
“They worked me hard from the first batter of the game,” said Haren, who labored through a grueling first inning in which he threw 37 pitches despite facing only six batters.
Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a homer, and Nolan Arenado followed with a two-run shot not long after as the Rockies brought the Marlins’ three-game winning streak to an end.
It was the first time since Aug. 15 last season — a stretch of 48 games — that the Marlins gave up more than one home run in a game in their own ballpark.
Haren said Arenado’s at bat with two outs was the most costly one.
“Arenado fought me pretty hard and I threw a split — that was the only split I threw all game — and he hit it 400 feet,” Haren said. “But I was in a battle with him and I was trying to throw him something else. It put us in a pretty big hole there.”
The two blasts came at a high cost for the Marlins, who not only lost the game Sunday, but perhaps third baseman Martin Prado, as well. Prado injured his right shoulder in the first inning when he stumbled over the bag at first.
Though he is listed as day-to-day, there is a strong chance he will be out even longer if the decision is made Monday to give him an injection to enhance healing.
Once the first-inning drama subsided, Haren settled on the mound.
After the first, he needed just 65 pitches to complete the next five innings in which the only hit he allowed was a Carlos Gonzalez one-out double in the sixth.
“I couldn’t find it there [at first],” Haren said. “After that, I felt really good.”
Said Marlins manager Dan Jennings: “The first inning, he wasn’t on his game. But he stayed right with it and was able to post five shutout innings.”
Haren, not a strikeout pitcher, struck out the side in the fifth.
“I kept us in it,” Haren said. “But, all in all, we won three of four games. I don’t think we should really be hanging our heads after a loss like this. We face the Yankees, so you can’t be down tomorrow.”
Haren received no help from the Marlins lineup, which was held to only four hits by Rockies starter Jorge de la Rosa, who went seven innings to pick up the win and become the winningest pitcher in Rockies franchise history with his 73rd win for Colorado.
The Marlins went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, with the only hit coming on Ichiro Suzuki’s pinch-hit single in the seventh that drove in the only run for Miami.
“That one big hit eluded us when we needed to get it,” Jennings said.
Sunday also marked the return of reliever Steve Cishek, who just returned from a stint in the minors. Cishek was summoned in the seventh with one out and the bases loaded and induced a ground ball from D.J. LeMahieu. But the ball was not hit hard enough for the Marlins to complete a double play, and a run scored.
“It was good to see [Cishek] come back, making quality pitches,” Jennings said. “It was a tough situation with the bases loaded, and he got the ground ball we were looking for.”