The Marlins right-hander was knocked around in his first start this month — “an embarrassing performance,” he told reporters at the time — but was solid in his next two outings.
On Wednesday afternoon against the Phillies, he allowed 11 of the first 16 hitters he faced to reach base (though one reached courtesy of Justin Bour’s error). Three of them scored, all in the third inning, and that proved pivotal in the Marlins’ 4-2 loss.
Never mind that Koehler (2-4) settled down after that and wound up going seven innings and yielding three runs (two earned) on seven hits, while striking out four and walking five. The walks did tie a career high.
“It wasn’t enough,” he said. “I had a chance early in the game to shut them down. We had a [2-0] lead [after the top of the first] and I gave it back in the third. Too many pitches early on.”
Koehler struggled with his fastball command out of the gate, walking the first two hitters he faced. One was erased on a steal attempt, however, the other on a double play. He also managed to escape a bases-loaded jam in the second.
But Bour’s error put David Lough aboard to start the third, and Cesar Hernandez then laid down a bunt to Koehler’s right and beat the pitcher’s throw to first for a single.
“He got down that line really fast,” Koehler said. “I thought I made a good throw. I guess I popped up a little bit instead of just stepping and throwing from there. It’s on me. It’s an out right there. Who knows what could have happened?”
Andres Blanco followed by slapping an RBI double down the first-base line, and later in the inning Cameron Rupp drove in two runs with a single up the middle.
Koehler blanked the Phillies over his final four innings, but the damage had been done.
“My last four innings I felt really good,” he said. “I felt like I was more on the attack, but that’s something I need to do from the beginning.”
Koehler allowed eight runs on eight hits over 2 1/3 innings in a May 1 loss at Milwaukee, the shortest outing of his career, but in his next two starts he allowed just two runs over 12 2/3 innings.
A Day of Rest
Martin Prado and Adeiny Hechavarria did not start, as mananger Don Mattingly elected to go with Chris Johnson at third in place of Prado and Miguel Rojas at short in place of Hechavarria.
Prado, batting .371 this season, did ground into a double play as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, and Hechavarria entered the game in the bottom of that inning as a defensive replacement after Ichiro Suzuki batted for Rojas.
A Pair of Firsts
Philadelphia rookie left fielder Tyler Goeddel hit his first major-league home run, a one-out solo shot off Marlins reliever Jose Urena in the eighth. It was also the first homer allowed by Urena in 15 1/3 innings this season. Urena challenged Goeddel on a 3-2 pitch with a 96-mph fastball, and Goeddel ripped it into the center-field seats, some 400 feet away.
The March to 3,000
Ichiro’s pinch-hit infield single off Phillies reliever Hector Neris in the eighth was the 2,950th major-league hit of his career. The 42-year-old also had 1,278 hits in his native Japan.