Pablo Lopez had things under control through six more quality innings.
But the Marlins rookie’s fortunes changed with one pitch.
Paul DeJong’s game-tying, two-run home run in the seventh inning snapped a 12-inning scoreless streak for Lopez and a club record streak by Marlins starters.
“I think he just left that [pitch], obviously he’s deep into the game,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It looked like he just left a breaking ball. He probably wanted to get that ball away. He ends up leaving it in right there to their guy DeJong.”
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Matt Carpenter’s solo home run the following inning off reliever Elieser Hernandez denied the Marlins a chance at a win as the Cardinals completed the comeback and dealt Miami a 3-2 loss on Tuesday night.
Lopez pitched a career-long seven innings, struck out five and gave up four hits.
“He was pretty much in control all night,” Mattingly said. “He was good at locating the fastball on both sides of the plate. His change-up was pretty good. He threw some good breaking balls. I thought he was really good.”
But his lone walk to Jedd Gyorko with one out in the seventh proved costly as it set up DeJong’s home run.
The 370-foot homer that landed in the Marlins’ bullpen in left field broke a scoreless innings streak of 26.1 innings by Miami starters at home, which was the longest such streak in franchise history per Elias Sports.
“My pitch count was a little high and I didn’t have my best execution and then I let the game speed up on me instead of focusing harder on executing the pitch,” Lopez said. “I was still trying to make the perfect pitch, instead of taking a deep breath and execute the pitch and slow the game down.”
Carpenter broke the tie in the eighth with a solo home run off reliever Elieser Hernandez that landed just beyond the right center field wall in front of the visiting bullpen.
Lopez didn’t allow more than one hit in any of the first six innings and threw a career-high 108 pitches. DeJong’s equalizer came on Lopez’s 100th pitch. Initially it appeared he would pitch the eighth as he came out to the mound. But after a few warm-up tosses, Mattingly took the ball from Lopez and brought in Hernandez.
Lopez has pitched at least six innings in five of his first seven major league starts.
Lopez also pitched seven innings on May 13 with Double A Jacksonville although he threw 111 pitches in a six-inning start on May 30.
“I was feeling very good from the beginning,” Lopez said. “JT [Realmuto] and I talked about changing speeds during the game and mixing more breaking balls and trying to expand the zone in every direction. We can always learn a lot from each start and work in the bullpen after each game and develop muscle memory and bring what you learn into each game.”
The Marlins (47-68) scored quickly off Cardinals’ ace Miles Mikolas, as Justin Bour lined a two-out single up the middle in the first to score Derek Dietrich.
JT Riddle tripled to lead off the fifth inning and scored on the next at-bat when Miguel Rojas singled to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead.