Angered by an unflattering newspaper article, inspired by the unbridled energy of a rookie and aided by the feeble pitching of a former ace, the Marlins looked like some other magnificent team Sunday and not the one that started out losing 22 of its first 31 games.
The worst-hitting team in the majors tore into the Phillies’ Roy Halladay — yes, the same pitcher who threw a perfect game against them three years ago — for nine runs en route to an emphatic 14-2 win at Citizens Bank Park.
In the process, Kevin Slowey recorded his first major-league win in what seemed like an eternity, nearly three long years ago when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins.
“Slowey pitched a fabulous game that will probably get overlooked because of what happened to Halladay over there and the runs we put up,” said Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano, who was hit by two Halladay pitches before blasting a pair of home runs.
Indeed, the report from the Phillies was that the two-time Cy Young Award winner would have an MRI on his shoulder on Monday and was likely headed to the disabled list. Halladay this season is now 2-4 with a 8.65 ERA.
In sharp contrast, Slowey is now 1-2 with a 1.81 ERA — one of the best figures in the majors — after delivering seven shutout innings Sunday before the bullpen took over. Slowey’s victory, his first since the end of the 2010 season, snapped a 15-start winless streak.
“I’m certainly very thankful to have an opportunity to get a win,” Slowey said. “Most of the time, when it’s been two years since your last major-league win, you’re probably not in a position to win again.”
The Marlins had provided Slowey with only four total runs during his time on the mound in his first six starts, by far the worst run support for any pitcher in the majors.
But they staked him to a 5-0 lead in the first on Sunday when sizzling hot rookie Marcell Ozuna banged a bases-loaded double off the wall for two runs and Adeiny Hechavarria delivered a bases-loaded triple to score three more.
Hechavarria didn’t stop there.
The light-hitting shortstop connected on a grand slam off Halladay in the third to give him seven RBI, equaling a Marlins record accomplished by only three players previously: Cody Ross, Gary Sheffield and Greg Colbrunn.
It was obvious something wasn’t right with Halladay, who walked four batters, hit a pair and threw a pitch that sailed behind Ozuna’s back. It was the second-most runs the Marlins had ever scored against one pitcher.
“[Halladay] just didn’t look himself from what I’ve seen over the past couple of years,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
It probably didn’t help Halladay that the Marlins were already steamed about a local newspaper article — one written after the Phillies’ win Friday — that called them “sad sacks” and described them as “easy to laugh at.” It was taped to the bulletin board inside the Marlins’ clubhouse.
“It said what we have here is dog [poop],” Ruggiano said.
“I don’t like seeing articles like that.”
Ruggiano, in addition to hitting his fifth and sixth home runs, also turned in the best defensive play of the season for the Marlins when he made a diving catch on Chase Utley’s fly ball in the fourth.
Ozuna also remained hot, going 4 for 5 with a walk and three RBI. Ozuna has now hit safely in his first six games since being called up from Double A Jacksonville for injured outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and has gone 11 for 23 (.478) overall.
Making it all the sweeter for Ozuna: His family flew to Philadelphia from the Dominican Republic to see the weekend series.
“As young as we are, it’s certain things we need, I guess, to give us a little spark,” Ruggiano said. “And whether it’s Ozuna or an article in the newspaper, it’s all going to help. Let’s use it to our advantage.”