They put Edinson Volquez in a dirty clothes cart, then pushed him around the clubhouse and into the showers. The Marlins gave Volquez the same treatment they give all their rookies when they record their first win or first hit.
Only Volquez is no rookie.
The 33-year-old veteran of 13 big-league seasons has won his share of games, including in the World Series. But, until prevailing on Monday, he hadn’t won in what seemed like an eternity.
He hadn’t won since Aug. 25 — a stretch of 16 starts — when he defeated the Marlins as a member of the Kansas City Royals.
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“I felt like I won my first game in the big leagues,” a smiling Volquez said after the Marlins’ 4-1 victory over the Phillies, which gave them back-to-back wins for the first time since April. “It’s been so long.”
Has it ever.
Volquez hadn’t won a game for the Marlins. He was 0-7.
But Monday was his day. The right-hander held the Phillies to a run on three hits over six innings, and the Marlins provided him with just enough offense to get the W.
“He got the treatment tonight,” said third baseman Derek Dietrich, who smacked a two-run homer off Jeremy Hellickson in the sixth. “It’s kind of funny. A salty vet like him — won a World Series ring — to have some fun with him like that.”
Said Volquez with a hearty laugh: “They got me.”
Volquez was in attack mode Monday, throwing first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 22 batters he ended up facing. He held the Phillies to only one hit through the first five innings before they finally got to him for a run in the sixth on Aaron Altherr’s two-out RBI single.
And he received some rare run support. Volquez went into the day having received the second-lowest run support among all Major League starting pitchers: a scant 2.31 runs per game.
The Marlins have fared poorly against Hellickson the past two seasons. Hellickson had gone 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA in his seven previous starts against the Marlins.
But they scored two runs off him in the third on RBI hits from Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton before adding two more in the sixth on Dietrich’s homer.
“Hellickson has been a tough guy on the mound for us,” Dietrich said. “We wanted to come up with a new approach and plan. I’m not going to divulge that for obvious reasons. We didn’t by any means crush him. But we did enough to win the ballgame, and that’s all that matters.”
Volquez, at this point, will take anything he can get. It’s been a tough couple of months for Volquez, as it has been for the Marlins overall.
“It’s good to get the first one after being 0-7,” Volquez said. “For me, I’m 1-0 now. I can’t keep thinking about 0-7.”
While Volquez was posting his first win, the Marlins were winning for the fifth time over their past eight games, their first successful stretch in what’s been a dreadful month.
“Obviously it’s been an awful month to this point,” Mattingly said. “But hopefully we’re starting to build a little momentum. I don’t want to get too excited. But it’s something. It’s been a rough month.”
For Volquez, as well.
He didn’t mind being pushed around in a cart like a rookie.
“They were so happy,” Volquez said of his teammates. “Those guys were trying so hard to get me a win.”