Mat Latos could be a goner — no longer a Marlin — before the July 31 trade deadline. He knows it. The Marlins know it. The scouts who showed up to peruse his every pitch Tuesday night knew it.
But if it was his final outing for the Marlins, or even his next-to-last one, Latos turned in a solid performance, the kind of showing the Marlins hoped he would provide more of when they traded for him last winter.
Returning from a freak toe injury, Latos kicked some sand on the Diamondbacks as the Marlins ended an eight-game road losing streak with a 3-0 win at Chase Field.
“Right now, I’m wearing a Marlins uniform,” Latos said. “I have to take care of business as a Marlin. This isn’t a one-man game, so I owe it to the other 24 guys in this clubhouse to give 110 percent until they kick me out of the clubhouse.”
Latos gave the scouts on hand these numbers to digest: seven scoreless innings, four hits allowed, seven strikeouts and only one walk. It was perhaps his finest effort as a Marlin.
And it might have upped the Marlins’ asking price for him.
Latos is set to become a free agent after the season and isn’t in the Marlins’ future plans, so trading him now is all-but-an-inevitability.
The big right-hander, who was starting for the first time since being struck in the foot by a foul ball while seated inside the dugout, was razor sharp Tuesday.
He ran into trouble just once — in the fourth when the Diamondbacks put two aboard with one out — but worked out of it by inducing a pair of ground outs.
Otherwise, the Diamondbacks had no luck with Latos.
Latos improved his career record against Arizona to 5-1. He has never lost at Chase Field, where he is now 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA.
Marlins manager Dan Jennings said he has sat down with Latos and pitcher Dan Haren, another player who could be on the trading block with the 31st approaching.
Latos said Jennings wanted to make sure the rumors didn’t impact the way he pitched.
“That’s the first thing he asked me, ‘I just don’t want to affect you,’ ” Latos recalled of their conversation. “It’s not going to affect me. I pitch for the Miami Marlins and that’s where I’m at right now. I need to take care of business here. If I get traded I get traded, and I take care of business elsewhere.”
Latos said he also wanted to be kept in the loop on any trade developments.
“Of course I want to know what’s going on,” he said. “I’ve got a 10-month-old and I’ve got a family to worry about. So I told him I do want to be in the loop.”
The Marlins, desperate for smiles and victories, will send Jose Fernandez to the mound Wednesday in a bid to capture the series. They were 0-5 this season against Arizona before Tuesday.
The Marlins’ lineup provided Latos with just enough help.
One night after hitting in the No. 5 spot and grounding into two double plays, Adeiny Hechavarria returned to his familiar No. 8 spot and came through with a two-out RBI single off Jeremy Hellickson that broke a scoreless tie.
Hechavarria has now gone 21 for 57 with runners in scoring position this season when batting from the No. 8 position; only 3 for 36 in those situations when batting anywhere else in the lineup.
Michael Morse made it 2-0 with an opposite-field shot off Hellickson in the seventh, and Christian Yelich extended the lead to 3-0 in the eighth on his bloop single off Diamondbacks reliever Matt Stites.
Carter Capps worked a scoreless eighth, striking out two of the three batters he faced. A.J. Ramos, back on the mound for the first time since giving up a walk-off home run in Philadelphia on Sunday, came through for his 15th save.