In a game too typical of their season, the Marlins offense struggled mightily while the bullpen couldn’t hold on to a slim lead in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
Colorado scored twice — including the go-ahead run — in the top of the eighth against reliever Chad Qualls. Third baseman Ryan Wheeler recorded the biggest hit of the game with an RBI double to deep center to put the Rockies ahead for good.
“[The close losses are] definitely frustrating. It seems like groundhog day, over and over again,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “I know the guys are competing and the effort is there. But at the same time, it’s tough. We’ve got to keep grinding.”
Miami had multiple chances to win the game, even taking a lead in the bottom of the seventh.
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Jake Marisnick hit a stand-up triple into the right-field corner. After a Jeff Mathis walk, Greg Dobbs worked a full count before depositing a lineout sacrifice fly into right. Marisnick beat the throw fairly easily to put Miami ahead 2-1.
The Marlins could have gotten an even bigger lead in the bottom of the sixth. But with two outs and the bases loaded, Ed Lucas, who opened Friday’s scoring with a 400-foot homer to left in the fifth, grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.
“We had a couple opportunities; we only had four hits,” Redmond said. “We’ve had that several times this year.”
Tom Koehler recorded a solid start and was in position for the win even though he never dominated the Rockies lineup. Koehler’s final line was seven innings pitched with one earned run, two walks and five strikeouts.
Koehler did show marked improvement in the first inning. With an ERA of 9.00 in the opening frame entering the game, Koehler held Colorado scoreless even after allowing a two-out double.
The Rockies’ first run came across in the top of the sixth. D.J. Lemahieu led off the inning with a triple. Koehler walked the next batter, and Lemahieu would eventually score on a fielder’s choice as the Marlins went for a double play with no outs as opposed to a throw to the plate.
“We go out there and we pitch and we do our best to keep the team in the game,” Koehler said of the starting rotation’s mind-set in lieu of Miami’s struggling offense. “In a situation like [Friday’s], after we score a run on a big home run by Lucas, I can’t go out there and allow the guy who leads off the inning to hit a triple.”
Colorado struck again in the eighth. Troy Tulowitzki hit a one-out double that was followed by a Michael Cuddyer soft liner to right. Giancarlo Stanton bobbled the exchange from his glove to his right hand, and Tulowitzki scored as Cuddyer went to second on the throw. Cuddyer would eventually score on Wheeler’s double.
Third baseman Placido Polanco continues to work his way back from a concussion he sustained after being hit in the head by a pitch on Aug. 16. On Monday, the Marlins placed Polanco on the seven-day concussion disabled list.
“He’s coming in and riding the bike,” Redmond said. “It’s going to be a day-to-day thing. We’re not going to rush him.”
Redmond said there was a long list of protocols for players with concussions, but that the injury basically requires a disabled-list stint as well as clearance from team doctors before the player can return. Polanco will most likely be out for longer than seven days. Comparing it to when he was a player, Redmond said the process for clearance has come a long way from the days of no guidelines.
“Major League Baseball has taken great steps to making sure they have a format you have to go through to getting guys cleared,” Redmond said.
While head injuries aren’t a hot topic in baseball as in other sports, Polanco’s injury is part of a wave of recent head issues.
Catchers Joe Mauer and Yorvit Torrealba sustained concussions in the past week. Torrealba, who plays for the Rockies, also went on the seven-day DL on Monday.
Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward had jaw surgery Thursday after fracturing it on a hit by pitch. Marlins minor-leaguer Ramon Del Orbe was in intensive care as late as Wednesday after sustaining two skull fractures on a line drive to the head.
Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (9-5, 2.41 ERA) vs. Colorado Rockies RHP Jeff Manship (0-3, 7.80), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (3-4, 3.02) vs. Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa (13-6, 3.21), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
Scouting report: Fernandez threw six innings in his last start, leading the Marlins to a win over the Dodgers. He struck out eight.