Miami Marlins

Early jitters prove costly to Marlins rookie in loss to Brewers

Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez pitches in the first inning of the Miami Marlins vs Milwaukee Brewers game at Marlins Park  Wednesday, July 10, 2018.
Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez pitches in the first inning of the Miami Marlins vs Milwaukee Brewers game at Marlins Park Wednesday, July 10, 2018. Miami Herald

Little went right for Pablo Lopez his first two innings. Nothing went wrong his last four.

For Lopez, unfortunately, it was those first two frames that factored the greatest in the Marlins' 8-4 loss to the Brewers.

Consider it part of the learning process for the promising 22-year-old rookie right-hander from Venezuela, whose third major league start on Monday consisted of parts good and bad — mostly good.

"The first two innings were definitely a big lesson for me," Lopez said.

Lopez neither allowed a hit nor walked a batter from innings three through six, when his only mistake was failing to come up with a lob throw from Garrett Cooper while covering first base in the fifth. For that, he was given an error. But it was his only mistake as he worked through the Brewers lineup with command, striking out four in the process.

No, the problem for Lopez were those first couple of innings when the Brewers scorched him for five runs, with four of those coming with two outs in the second. Lopez gave up six hits and walked three (one intentionally) in that brief span, and the Marlins were unable to recover, though they did manage to make it interesting.

"A lot to like about that outing," said manager Don Mattingly. "I think we learn from everything. But you love to see a guy continue to compete and all of a sudden throws four straight zeroes after he gives up some runs and it looks like they've got him on the ropes and he ends up going six innings for us and keeping us right there."

The Marlins pulled to within a run in the fourth inning on Brian Anderson's RBI ground ball out. But they never got closer, going flat at the plate from that point forward.

Part of Lopez's undoing was former Marlin Christian Yelich, who doubled off him in the first inning and drove in a pair of runs in the second with a single. Just to make his South Florida homecoming even better, Yelich added a two-run double in the ninth off another rookie, Ben Meyer, to give him five total hits so far in the series.

The first two innings aside, the outing still rated as an improvement for Lopez over his previous start in Washington when the Nationals rallied from a 9-0 deficit to defeat the Marlins. In that one, Lopez was on the mound when the Nationals began to mount their comeback by scoring five runs off the pitcher, who was acquired in the David Phelps trade with Seattle last summer and began the season at Double A Jacksonville.

Lopez said after conferring with catcher Bryan Holaday between innings, he became more aggressive and attacking the strike zone as the game progressed.

Lopez even recorded his first major league hit Monday with a second-inning single and walked his second trip to the plate.

"I was proud of him the way he competed," Mattingly said. "There's going to be outings where he does that the whole game and it's going to be zeroes. He's going to keep getting better."

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