As they get their veterans back, the Marlins are picking up some needed momentum.
Wei-Yin Chen, who had not started a game since May 1, threw 5 1/3 mostly solid innings and Martin Prado picked up his first two hits and RBI, which along with a Derek Dietrich home run propelled the Marlins to a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Marlins Park.
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The Marlins (8-18) won for the third time in their past four games.
Prado, who went 0 for 4 on Friday in his first game back from the DL, drove in his two runs early on a fielder’s choice and a double. Prado, who missed most of last season with multiple leg injuries, also made three excellent fielding plays the first of which came in the second inning when he snared a line drive by Chris Iannetta.
"Sometimes you're playing rehab games, I didn't get that many of those plays in those games," Prado said. "So it was good just to show my team I was healthy and I'm here not just for show, but to be out there and perform and show them I have respect for them. Just to be able to contribute and win a game is huge for me."
The Marlins reinstated Chen, who picked up his first win since April 18, 2017 in Seattle, from the disabled list where he opened the season while continuing his rehab from a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
Chen shut out the Rockies for the first five innings, allowing one hit while issuing two walks and striking out three.
Charlie Blackmon led off the sixth with a solo home run and Ian Desmond followed with a double. Chen got Nolan Arenado to pop up behind short, but his outing was over after giving up a single to Trevor Story on his next pitch.
Chen exited after 68 pitches in his first pitching appearance since Sept. 22.
"It's been a pretty long time since I made my last start so I just didn't want to think too much," Chen said. "I just wanted to worry about getting each hitter out."
Chen, who made only 27 starts in two seasons and is the highest-paid player on the club’s roster (owed $10 million in base salary and another $8 million in deferred bonuses), made five starts to open the 2017 season before being shut down with left elbow soreness, which was eventually revealed to be a partial tear of his UCL. Chen did not have surgery.
Chen continued to rehab from the injury during spring training and made two starts in Jupiter recently going 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA, allowing only one run on five hits and one walk and recording 11 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.
"This is what the reports have been saying about [Chen]," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "His outings have been good, have been clean for the most part. It looked like he ran out of gas a little bit understandably [in the sixth]. But I thought he was really good."
The Marlins’ bullpen, however, blanked the Rockies (15-13) the rest of the game as Nick Wittgren, Tayron Guerrero and Kyle Barraclough combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Guerrero, in particular, continued to impress with an eight-pitch seventh inning in which he struck out one and touched 100 mph on three pitches. Barraclough picked up his first save of the season. Mattingly said Brad Ziegler was not available having pitched the previous game.
Dietrich, who started at first base for Justin Bour, drove in two runs on a single in the fourth and a solo homer in the seventh off former Marlins reliever Mike Dunn.
Bour was scratched from the lineup an hour before the game started with back spasms. He was listed as day-to-day.
"He felt something during batting practice upper back," Mattingly said. "We tried to loosen him up and see if he could swing for the game, but he was right on the borderline so we tried to stay away from him today, but I'm hoping he's available in some capacity [Sunday]."