The Marlins were shutout by the Mets for the second time in three days Saturday. But the bad news didn’t really come until after the game was over.
Second baseman Rafael Furcal, who missed the first two months of the season with hamstring and groin injuries, is headed back to the disabled list after he pulled up and clutched the back of his left leg as he was trying to beat out a double play in Saturday’s 4-0 loss at Marlins Park.
Manager Mike Redmond said Furcal, 36, was going to have for an MRI performed on his left hamstring and calf muscles, and the Marlins would likely make a corresponding roster move on Sunday. The Marlins initially called it a left hamstring cramp. But Redmond believes it’s worse.
“It definitely doesn’t sound good,” Redmond said. “I’d be happy if it was a cramp.”
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Derek Dietrich, demoted for his defensive struggles back on June 3, will likely be coming back up from Triple A New Orleans to replace Furcal. Dietrich was held out of the Zephys lineup Saturday.
Dietrich had been tearing it up in the minors, hitting .340 with six homers and 15 RBI in the 13 games he’s played there. But he made eight errors, tied for most by a second baseman in the National League in 36 games this season.
Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was scratched from the lineup before the game with a sore right elbow. But Redmond said he expects him back in the lineup Sunday.
That’s when the Marlins (37-37) will try to salvage a split with the Mets in what has turned out to be a tough, season-long 10-game home stand. They already lost their first two series to the Pirates and Cubs here, and need to win Sunday to salvage a split with the Mets (34-41).
The Marlins, who hit .263 and were averaging 4.6 runs through the first two months of the season, are hitting only .235 in the month of June and averaging 3.6 runs a game.
Saturday it was Mets rookie right-hander Jacob deGrom who held them in check. He pitched seven scoreless innings to pick up his first career win in eight tries. The 26-year-old deGrom gave up five hits, three walks and struck out seven on 97 pitches over seven innings.
David Wright had three of the Mets’ seven hits, scored a run and drove in another.
By the time Lucas Duda smacked a two-run home run to right off Chris Hatcher, a large section of Mets fans known as the 7 Line Army were well into their ‘Let’s Go Mets’ chants, drowning out whatever Marlins fans were left among the crowd of 24,502.
The good news for the Marlins Saturday: Tom Koehler, who came in 1-2 with a 6.99 ERA in his five previous starts, pitched well. He matched a career-high with eight strikeouts and allowed only four hits and two earned runs over seven innings, a welcome sign for the Marlins after his recent struggles.
He retired the first 11 hitters he faced before Wright singled to center and sparked a Mets rally with two outs in the third. Wright eventually came around to score on Chris Young’s soft line drive single to center. The Mets then tacked on another run on a Wright RBI-single to right in the sixth.
Koehler lamented the two runs he gave up about as much as the sacrifice bunts he wasn’t able to successfully complete in the third and fifth innings.
Miami had several opportunities to score Saturday, but couldn’t get timely hits.
After Giancarlo Stanton reached on an error with one out in the fourth, he was thrown out at second trying to advance on a ball bobbled by Mets catcher Tyler Teagarden with Casey McGehee at the plate. A couple pitches later, McGehee doubled off the center field wall.
In the fifth, Koehler was unable to put down a successful sacrifice bunt with runners on first and second with one out. The inning ended with Jeff Baker flying out to right.
There were similar stories of failure in the sixth and seventh.
“It’s a long season,” Koehler said. “We play so many games that you’re bound to go through something like this. The good news is we have a long way to go still and we’ve got a great group of guys, a lot of high-character guys and guys that don’t give up. I don’t see this being something that’s going to bury us because we’re in a little bit of a rut.”
The bigger concern for the Marlins now is the health of Furcal.
Since signing a one-year, $3.5 million deal this winter Furcal has played in only nine games. Counting Saturday’s three innings of work, he is 6-for-35 (.171) with two RBI and four runs scored. Baker replaced Furcal Saturday as he was escorted off the field by team trainers.
“It’s tough,” Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones said. “He came back and he was definitely adding a spark to our lineup. It looked like he was starting to get more comfortable at the plate, and he was playing good D. It’s unfortunate.”