The Marlins were no thing of baseball beauty on Sunday.
There were the six walks issued by Jose Urena in the short span of 10 batters. There was his throwing error. There was no one covering the bag at third on one slip-up and a botched double play on another. There was a Giancarlo Stanton error.
When it came to style points the Marlins didn’t score well.
But still they won, and won big. They beat the Angels 9-2. And in the process, they did something they hadn’t done in more than a month. They won a series, taking two of three from the Angels.
Stanton and J.T. Riddle each homered, Ichiro Suzuki came through with a big pinch-hit single, and the Marlins overcame some of their messy ways to produce a victory and a series win that had been long in coming.
Since taking two of three in San Diego in April, the Marlins had gone 10 consecutive series without winning so much as one. But they ended that drought Sunday, as unsightly as it was at times.
“It seems like a long time,” manager Don Mattingly said of the Marlins’ tortuously long series-winning drought. “And really we haven’t had many chances to win one. It’s good to get one and hopefully it’s the start of something.”
Twice the Marlins could have unraveled early.
The first instance came in the third when Mike Trout entered the batter’s box with the bases loaded and two outs. But Urena induced a weak ground ball to end the inning and bring a collective sigh of relief.
“Nobody wants to be in that situation,” Urena said. “I did everything I could to get a big out.”
Said Mattingly: “Obviously, when you get to Trout there with the bases loaded, it’s not where you want to be. Even though it’s early in the game, it’s a big part of the game. It has a chance to be a game-changer there, one way or the other.”
Then came a fourth inning in which, after giving up a two-run homer to Martin Maldonado, Urena walked the bases loaded. But again he escaped major damage when Andrelton Simmons lined sharply to Marcell Ozuna in left for the third out.
“He was at the end of his rope there,” Mattingly said. “It looked like in the first few [innings], he was rolling pretty good. And then they were getting to him a little bit. It could have been worse.”
The Angels received a scare in the fifth when Trout stole second and began wringing his left hand in obvious pain. The team later reported that Trout had sprained his left thumb, though X-rays were negative.
The Marlins scored three runs in the fifth. After Derek Dietrich doubled to start the inning, Christian Colon bunted him to third to bring up Ichiro, who took a .148 average into Sunday. But Ichiro stroked a 2-2 pitch into right to tie it at 2-2, and Riddle homered on the next pitch from Matt Shoemaker.
Mattingly put Riddle in the leadoff spot Sunday, in front of Stanton.
“[Stanton] being behind me kind of helped maybe see more balls in the zone [Sunday],” Riddle said.
The Marlins added two runs in the sixth and three in the eighth to put the game away.