The Marlins were looking for any kind of spark for their slumping offense.
Who better than their Home Run Derby champion to provide it?
Giancarlo Stanton didn’t even need to send a ball out of the park Tuesday night to break the Marlins out of a 24-inning scoring drought and propel them Marlins to a 5-0 victory over the Phillies.
Stanton’s single to right field in the sixth inning scored the first run, and his ground-rule double in the eighth sparked a four-run outburst in the eighth.
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The Marlins (54-46) shut out the Phillies (46-56) for the first time this season one night after they suffered the second of back-to-back shutout losses.
“Good to get some energy going,” Stanton said. “I feel like five of the last six games against them have gone pretty much the same way so it was good.”
Stanton’s double scored Ichiro Suzuki, who singled to open the frame.
Ichiro started Tuesday in his customary leadoff spot, and moved within three hits of the 3,000-career hit milestone. He went 1 for 5 with a stolen base and came up to bat twice in the eighth. The second time, he flew out to left field to end the inning.
Ichiro nearly homered in the game’s first at-bat as he sent Phillies outfielder Peter Bourjos crashing into the wall to make the catch and prevent an extra-base hit.
“It livened the place up a lot when he got that hit,” Stanton said. “It was definitely a big help for us. Unfortunately, [that first one] didn’t get out.”
Adeiny Hechavarria followed Stanton’s double with a two-run single off reliever Severino Gonzalez that was followed by an RBI single by Miguel Rojas.
The Marlins sent 10 batters to the plate in the eighth, collecting four hits and three walks.
“The first [Stanton hit] obviously was relief from the standpoint of we haven’t scored in a while and you feel like hopefully it has a chance to open things up a little bit,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “The next one kind of opens up the flood gates, gives us a little breathing room.”
Tom Koehler’s tendency to dominate the Phillies came in handy before the Marlins worked their way out of their scoring funk.
Koehler’s six shutout innings held the fort, as he struck out five and allowed only three hits and one walk in his second consecutive strong start against Philadelphia in less than a week.
Koehler exited the game after only 73 pitches after he experienced some tightness in his pectoral muscle.
“Tom gave us pretty much what we needed tonight,” Mattingly said. “We’ve got a couple of guys kind of banged up in the pen — well, not banged up, just we were down today — and Tom gave us just what we needed. We’ve just got to be cautious with any situation at any moment.”
Koehler went eight innings and allowed only two hits and one earned run this past Thursday in a 9-3 win in Philadelphia.
In four starts against the Phillies this season, Koehler is 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA, allowing only four earned runs in 28 innings.
“He had a real good curve ball,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s impressed me and I’ve seen in the past and I’ve been unimpressed but these last two times, we’ve helped him out. We didn’t give him a chance to walk us — swung at too many bad pitches. That’s our problem.”
Over his past two starts, Koehler has allowed only one earned run on five hits for a 0.64 ERA.
Koehler (8-8) lowered his season ERA, which had ballooned to 4.68, to 4.18 following the past two starts.
“We just stuck with the same game plan me and Jeff [Mathis] had last time,” Koehler said. “We were able to execute pitches and get some early contact and guys played good defense behind me.”
The Marlins sent 90 consecutive batters to the plate without producing a run until Stanton sliced a fastball from Jerad Eickhoff to right field.
Mike Dunn, David Phelps and Nick Wittgren each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the team’s sixth shutout win of the season.
Fernando Rodney was warming up in the bullpen before the Marlins pulled ahead by more than three runs, and Mattingly said following the game he would have gone to Rodney for the save if needed.
Mattingly said A.J. Ramos, who gave up three runs in a non-save situation Monday night, was unavailable after he jammed his finger while fielding a bunt.