Henderson Alvarez and Steve Cishek used to be old reliables.
Now, they and the Marlins can’t seem to do anything right.
On a night the Marlins built an early 3-0 lead and looked like they might end a season-long, seven-game skid, the club’s Opening Day starter and former closer couldn’t protect it as the Orioles rallied to win 8-5 on Friday at Marlins Park.
After the game, there was more bad news: The Marlins sent Alvarez to the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and Mat Latos to the DL with a left knee injury.
Friday’s implosion started in the sixth inning with back-to-back walks by Alvarez before he fielded a bunt, turned to get the lead runner at third base and his errant throw sailed into left field, allowing the tying run to score.
After an intentional walk, new Marlins manager Dan Jennings brought in Cishek with the bases loaded and nobody out — and it wasn’t a popular decision, according to the 19,977 who paid for seats. Those boos soon grew louder when Baltimore (19-20) took the lead for good on Caleb Joseph’s two-run single to center.
“We just need to win a ballgame and tell ourselves we can do it,” Cishek said. “Because we’ve got a great ball club here. It’ll happen, no doubt. I’m just thankful it’s early in the season. But we don’t want to wait around much longer.”
The Marlins (16-27) pounded out 14 hits and had plenty of chances to score more, but they finished 3 for 19 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.
The most frustrating moment of the night: After Michael Morse doubled home a run in the bottom of the sixth and Dee Gordon singled and stole his franchise-record-tying fourth base of the game, Tommy Hunter came in and got out of the jam.
He struck out Marcell Ozuna swinging, got Giancarlo Stanton to pop out to first and Martin Prado to ground out to third. Marlins fans didn’t like any of that and even booed their $325 million All-Star in Stanton as he jogged back to the dugout.
The Marlins, winless in their first eight games since returning from the West Coast, will have two more chances to give Jennings his first win Saturday and Sunday against Baltimore or they will complete the worst homestand in franchise history.
“It’s tough because when we made the moves this offseason to bring Mat in as a top-of-the-rotation guy, and [Hendu] is an All-Star,” Jennings said. “Now someone’s going to get an opportunity to step up, and it will be a boost to us, maybe even a spark. We’ve had some kids down below perform well, and we’ll see which guy we bring up here.”
The Marlins will likely call upon either Jose Urena or Justin Nicolino from Triple A New Orleans to help out the rotation.
The Marlins have never gone winless in a homestand longer than six games (July 25-31, 1994, vs. Expos and Phillies). Their worst homestand to date: a 2-11 mark from April 23-May 5, 1999 (Braves, Cubs, Astros, Brewers).
Jennings, meanwhile, is now 0-5 since replacing the fired Mike Redmond earlier this week. According to STATS, only former Astros manager Brad Mills had a worst start recently. He started 0-8 with Houston in 2010.
Speaking of bad starts: Alvarez is now 0-4 with a 6.45 ERA in four starts this season. He looked good his first time through the Orioles order, but his troubles started in the fourth. Before Alvarez got out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed, Chris Davis flew out to the warning track in center with two on for the second out.
Then the Orioles opened the fifth with three consecutive hits, including a Delmon Young RBI double to center, before trimming the Marlins’ lead to 3-2 on a Manny Machado RBI groundout.
Alvarez then opened the sixth with the back-to-back walks, missing the strike zone on eight consecutive pitches before he fielded the bunt by J.J. Hardy and airmailed it over Prado’s head at third. Alvarez finished throwing only 47 of his 85 pitches for strikes, walked four and was charged with six runs (four earned) after Cishek allowed all three of the inherited runners to score.
Machado, the third overall pick out of Miami Brito in the 2010 draft, finished 2 for 5 with three RBI in his first game back home.