The Giants have won the World Series two of the past three years.
But the lowly Marlins have been beating them silly at AT&T Park.
Tom Koehler recorded his first major-league victory and Marcell Ozuna’s pinch-hit two-run single in the eighth inning rallied the the Marlins for a 2-1 win, their eighth straight at AT&T Park.
“Outside of the day I met my wife, this is probably the happiest moment of my life right now,” Koehler said. “Definitely my happiest baseball moment.”
Koehler didn’t allow a hit until Gregor Blanco singled with one out in the sixth and took a shutout into the seventh before the Giants edged out to a 1-0 lead on Joaquin Arias’ RBI triple.
But the Marlins, who have struggled for runs on the road trip, came up with a pair in the eighth when Ozuna, who has been slumping, came through with a big two-out single in his very first major league pinch at-bat.
“Today when I come to the park, I said today I’m going to break out of my slump,” Ozuna said.
Ozuna had gone 2 for his last 33 and didn’t start Thursday when the Marlins opened a four-game series against the defending Series champs. But with runners at second and third and two outs, Ozuna was sent in to pinch-hit against Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt.
The rookie flared a 0-2 pitch into right for a soft single to put the Marlins ahead 2-1. Ozuna said he couldn’t remember the last time he came through with a pinch hit.
“I think, let me do what I do in [batting practice],” Ozuna said of his thought process when he stepped to the plate in the eighth. “Get the contact! Get the contact! Get the contact! I say, if he throws me in, I’m going to hit a home run. I’m going to swing hard. If he throws me away, I’m going to throw my bat. And that’s what happened. I got a base hit to right field.”
Chad Qualls worked a scoreless eighth, and Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
It has been a low-scoring road trip so far for the Marlins. Only 14 total runs were scored in their just-completed three-game series against the Diamondbacks, and three of the four games on the trip so far has been decided by one run.
For the second straight day, the Marlins injured the opposing starter with a shot back up the middle. On Thursday, Derek Dietrich’s line shot up the middle in the fifth struck Chad Gaudin in the arm. Gaudin, who spent all of last season in the Marlins’ bullpen, was taken out of the game and replaced by another former Marlin, Sandy Rosario.
Rosario worked 2 2/3 innings without allowing a hit.
But after the Giants scored in the seventh on back-to-back extra-base hits with two outs, Rosario gave up a leadoff walk in the eighth to Justin Ruggiano and Giants manager Bruce Bochy had Affeldt take over.
Affeldt hit the first batter he faced, Dietrich, and both runners moved up on Adeiny Hechavarria’s sacrifice bunt. Affeldt struck out pinch-hitter Jeff Mathis and worked the count to 0-2 on Ozuna before the rookie singled softly to right.
Ozuna said the big hit was just what the doctor ordered to end his slump.
“I’m excited because it broke my slump,” he said. “I’m going to come back [raise his average] to .300.”
Koehler was just as ecstatic. He had waited a long time for his first win.
“It definitely didn’t weigh on my confidence,” said Koehler, who is 1-5 this season. “But to say I didn’t think about it would be a lie. I mean, every time I went out there, I wanted to win the game, so I was wondering what it would take to do it.”