It was a third inning to forget for Caleb Smith. The fourth inning wasn't much better for Junichi Tazawa.
And it ultimately was a homestand finale to forget for the Miami Marlins.
Smith gave up four runs to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his third and final inning on the mound Thursday, a frame that set the tone for the Marlins' 7-0 loss. It put a somber end to a series that the Marlins had already clinched after winning the first two games of the set 4-2 on Tuesday and 6-5 on Wednesday.
Although Smith worked a couple scoreless innings to open the game, his outing was rough from the start.
His command was shaky. He nibbled at the outside of strike zone to no avail. Seven of the 15 batters he faced drew full counts. Of his 77 pitches, just 43 went for strikes.
"Nothing really had a bite to it," manager Don Mattingly said.
It compounded in that third inning.
Smith walked the based loaded in the third with one out. The Dodgers' Justin Turner quickly made Smith pay, ripping a high fast ball to the left-field fence for a three-run double. A ground-rule double one at-bat later from Matt Kemp gave the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.
Smith walked off the mound at the end of the inning and was immediately substituted in the lineup for a pinch hitter. His day was over. His ERA jumped from 3.67 to 4.34 and his record dropped to 2-5. His brief streak of success — one that saw him give up just two earned runs over 18 innings — quickly halted.
"It was everything," Smith said. "Just bad."
And with that, the Marlins (16-27) turned to their bullpen for support. Things got worse before they had a chance to get better.
Tazawa gave up three more runs in the fourth inning on a Yasiel Puig home run and a two-run double from Turner to add to the Marlins' deficit. Turner tied a career-best with his 5 RBI.
After Tazawa's stint ended, reliever Tyler Cloyd shined with five scoreless innings, scattering four hits and a pair of walks while striking out one.
But the damage was already done, especially with the offense stuttering once again.
The Dodgers' Kenta Maedo held the Marlins at bay for the majority of the game, tossing eight scoreless innings.
"Games like today you have to tip your hat," shortstop Miguel Rojas said. "The guy was mixing pitches good. ... We couldn't figure him out."
The Marlins were shut out for the fifth time this season and managed just four hits in the game. Two came in a last-ditch effort in the ninth inning, back-to-back hits from JB Shuck and Cameron Maybin, both of whom entered as defensive replacements in the sixth inning. Justin Boar and Brian Anderson both struck out to end the game.
It was the 11th game this year in which the Marlins recorded five hits or fewer. The Marlins also struck out 10 times in the game.
"We just have trouble when we get behind in big numbers because we really have to grind at-bats to get our runs," Mattingly said. "It just gets tougher as the number gets bigger. The four [runs] is one thing. Then it's three more the next inning and now it's seven. We need to try to get things going."
Their next chance to get it going will come on the road.
After going 3-4 in the seven-game homestand, the Marlins now head to Atlanta to start its second series against the Braves in a week. The Braves, who held an NL-best 26-16 record heading into Thursday, took three of four games at Marlins Park. They outscored the Marlins by a combined score of, coincidentally, 26-16.
"We've just got to keep moving on," Mattingly said.
▪ J.T. Realmuto, who was not in the starting lineup, struck out in his pinch-hit appearance to lead off the bottom of the ninth. It marked the first time in Realmuto's 22 career games against the Dodgers that he didn't reach base.
▪ The Marlins made a pair of roster moves after the game. Tazawa was designated for assignment and Cloyd was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Tazawa had a 9.00 ERA over 20 innings, giving up 21 runs (20 earned) and six home runs. Cloyd has essentially served as a mop-up pitcher this season. His ERA sits at 10.80 over 13.1 innings.