The Marlins continued to spiral downward in the standings with two more losses Monday to the Braves.
And Miami’s struggling lineup took two big losses as the Atlanta completed a doubleheader sweep over the Marlins with a 6-1 win in the nightcap at SunTrust Park that followed a 9-1 victory earlier in the day.
Just hours after the Marlins placed third baseman Martin Prado (left quad strain) on the disabled list for the third time this season,their infield depth thinned even more when Miguel Rojas suffered a left ankle contusion in the top of the second inning.
“We’ll find out tomorrow how it reacts overnight and kind of just go from there,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It didn’t sound like it was overly serious, but that doesn’t mean it’s a one-day thing or something.”
The injury occurred when Rojas was thrown out at third base by Ronald Acuna, Jr. while trying to advance from second to third on a single by Bryan Holaday. Rojas came up grabbing his left leg near his ankle and limped to the dugout. Rojas was listed as day to day and replaced by Yadiel Rivera, who finished the game at third.
Rojas said he felt as bad about the costly mistake early in the game as he did the physical pain of his ankle.
“It was a stupid decision getting hurt,” Rojas said. “You hurt the team more than anything. we just lost Martin early in the day. Because of a stupid decision, I’m hurting the team a little bit more.”
Rojas said he gambled on trying to reach third when he felt Acuna, Jr. didn’t make an emphatic attempt to field the ball hit by Holaday.
“I saw he was on his heels catching the ball,” Rojas said. “I didn’t see any aggressiveness to catch the ball. A little courtesy. I know he was close, and it was two outs. I was aware of the whole situation. I was trying to get there and make him feel like he needs to play and give a little more effort. That’s all that I saw.
“I saw he was flat footed, and I was trying to keep going there, to make it to third. But I was aware of the situation. It wasn’t the right time to try to take the extra base. The pitcher was behind. It was two outs, early in the game. It’s on me.”
The Marlins scored their lone run in the sixth on a double by Starlin Castro that scored J.T. Realmuto after he walked. Realmuto, who was mired in a 2-for-29 slump before Sunday’s game, reached base for a stretch of six consecutive plate appearances over both games before flying out in the eighth.
The Marlins (48-73) have now scored three runs or fewer in 11 of their past 12 games, and have lost 12 of their past 14 games.
“I think we have to bring a little more energy because it seems to me we’re a little too comfortable with losing games and not doing anything about it,” Prado said. “Mentally we’re just coming in and coming out of the clubhouse.
“I think it’s something we have to address in the next few days where guys just have to take a little more pride because this is the big leagues and for me it took a long time to get to the big leagues. So this is something I take really seriously. Hopefully this young group of kids understands how fortunate they are to play in the big leagues. I think the next few days they’re going to hear from me because this is not acceptable.”
Rookie Merandy Gonzalez, who appeared in seven previous games as a reliever this season, was recalled from Double A Jacksonville to make his first career start.
Gonzalez, whom the Marlins acquired in July 2017 in a trade with the New York Mets for A.J. Ramos, pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on eight hits while striking out three with no walks on 97 pitches.
After a shaky, 28-pitch first inning during which he allowed two runs on four hits, Gonzalez retired nine consecutive Braves. But Gonzalez was unable to escape the fifth inning allowing three consecutive singles to the top of Atlanta’s order resulting in a third run on a Freddie Freeman single and his exit from the game.
Gonzalez also gave up a leadoff solo homer to Acuna, Jr. on his first pitch of the game. Acuna, Jr. also hit a leadoff homer against Pablo Lopez in the first game of the doubleheader.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Tayron Guerrero gave up a solo home run to Freddie Freeman in the seventh inning on an 86-mph slider.
Guerrero then cranked up the speed by throwing six consecutive pitches of 102.3 mph or faster to end that inning and his final three pitches to Ender Inciarte were tracked at 103, 104 and 103.8 mph by Statcast.
“Yeah right after that slider that I missed it up, I was so [ticked] off about it,” Guerrero said. “That’s why I threw 104 [mph].”
Mattingly complemented the way Guerrero has been able to get his powerful fastball over more effectively for strikes, which he’s confident will lead to more effectiveness from his slider.
“The one thing he’s doing now is, he’s throwing enough strikes with that fastball,” Mattingly said. “He seems to be able to throw that thing as hard as he wants and still throw strikes with it. At this point, the slider isn’t really his out pitch. It really isn’t his secondary pitch. But he’s learning to get closer to be able to rip it.”
▪ Center fielder Lewis Brinson (hip) is set to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Double A Jacksonville.
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