Last place was the last place the Marlins wanted to be at the end of this 10-game homestand — but at least they’re taking a little momentum with them back out on the road.
After an ugly stretch that included eight losses in a row and the firing of manager Mike Redmond, Miami salvaged two games in less than a 24-hour span, beating the Orioles 5-2 on Sunday in front of 23,834 fans at Marlins Park.
“Wins are like doughnuts — you like them so much you want to keep eating them,” said manager Dan Jennings, who after waiting longer than any other Marlins manager to get his first win (six games) joined his players at The Clevelander pool for a celebratory dip after Saturday’s 1-0 win in 13 innings.
“I want to keep getting them right away.”
The Marlins (18-27) could use a baker’s dozen.
On Sunday, they strung together their second win in a row behind Marcell Ozuna and Martin Prado, who drove in the game-winner Saturday with a two-out, bases-loaded single. Ozuna and Prado combined for four RBI and five of the Marlins’ 11 hits, and helped knock out Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez (5-3, 3.83 ERA) after only four innings.
“I think we were a little distracted in the past week and a half about stuff,” Prado said. “… I was so glad to see everybody the way they were [Saturday night]. It’s good to have that feeling that your teammates are having fun.”
Prado scored the first run on a Christian Yelich groundout and then belted his third home run of the season in the fifth to increase the Marlins lead to 5-0. Prado had fouled off seven pitches in a 12-pitch at-bat before his home run cleared the wall in left-center field.
“The best — if not the best — at-bat we’ve seen all year,” Jennings said.
Tom Koehler, meanwhile, retired the first 13 Orioles he faced and went 61/3 innings, giving up only three hits, four walks and one earned run. He also got a huge assist from Brad Hand, who came on with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh and induced pinch-hitter Steve Pearce into a 5-4-3 double play.
The Marlins’ bullpen then danced out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation again in the eighth when Sam Dyson picked up the final out for Bryan Morris on a groundout to second.
Closer A.J. Ramos then picked up his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth. He has now made 11 consecutive scoreless appearances.
Said Jennings: “You look across that line of Ramos’ numbers, I don’t know that there’s many any better in either league.”
When the homestand started on May 15, the Marlins were in a much better situation in both the standings and in terms of health. They were in third place, only three games under .500, and Opening Day starter Henderson Alvarez was scheduled to come off the disabled list.
Now, the Marlins hit the road with not only Alvarez back on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, but Mat Latos (left knee inflammation) and Jarred Cosart (vertigo) are also there. Koehler, who made his second start since being put back into the rotation, has now given up just two earned runs over his past 22 innings.
The Marlins open a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Monday with David Phelps scheduled to start. They still haven’t announced who will pitch Tuesday and Wednesday, but it’s likely that right-hander Jose Urena, who hasn’t pitched in a week and leads the Pacific Coast League in ERA (1.21), will be called up to make one of those starts. Hand (0-1, 5.48) is also a realistic option.
“It’s been an interesting week, but it’s been an interesting week for everybody,” Koehler said. “Hopefully, it’s one of those things we’ll look back at the end of the year and we’ll be able to pinpoint that this was the homestand where we hit rock bottom, and we were able to turn it around and get something going.”