The Miami Marlins know what their record says. A rough start to the season — 10 wins in 41 games — plunged them to the bottom of the standings to start the second year of their latest rebuild.
But since then? The Marlins have been one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Sunday’s 6-4 road win over the Philadelphia Phillies served as the latest statement. It secured the Marlins’ first three-game sweep in Philadelphia since August 2009, closed a road trip in which Miami won five of seven games and capped a needed bounce-back week after going 2-7 on their last homestand.
“We have a good team,” center fielder JT Riddle said. “We’ve proven that we can beat some of the better teams. There are a lot of doubters out there, but we have a good club.”
Just how good have they been? The Marlins (30-46) have won 20 of their last 35 games after starting the season with a 10-31 record.
Their .571 winning percentage in that stretch ranks as the fourth-best in the National League through Sunday’s afternoon games. It includes road series wins over the Detroit Tigers, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers and now the Phillies. They swept the Mets at home to start this run and also won a series against the San Francisco Giants at home.
“The guys have kept playing,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s what you want to see with a club that started like we did. We knew we were young. We know we’re still in the rebuild, but you want to see improvement.”
Look to Sunday’s win over the Phillies (39-38) as one example.
The Marlins rallied from an early deficit by belting out three home runs, recording 16 hits overall and seeing Jordan Yamamoto calm down after a shaky first inning to become the first pitcher in Marlins franchise history to win his first three starts.
Riddle, Garrett Cooper and Brian Anderson all hit home runs, with Riddle’s two-run shot in the third giving the Marlins the lead for good. Cooper and Anderson went back-to-back in the fifth off reliever Edgar Garcia to push the lead to 6-2 and prompt boos from the announced crowd of 36,749 at Citizens Bank Park.
“I think we heard the boos all weekend,” said Cooper, one of the catalysts on the Marlins’ offense who is on a career-high 14-game hit streak and has reached base in all but two of his 35 games since coming back from the injured list on May 11. “... To come in here and do that makes it a little sweeter. Played a good series all around this weekend.”
Cooper and Starlin Castro finished the game with three hits. Riddle, Anderson, Miguel Rojas, and Bryan Holaday each had multi-hit games as well. Every starting position player had at least one hit.
The score likely could have been higher if they had not grounded into five double plays.
It backed up a solid start for Yamamoto, who had to rebound after struggling mightily in the first inning.
Yamamoto, making his third MLB start after being called up from Double A Jacksonville, walked the first three batters he faced, gave up a two-run single to Jean Segura and threw 32 pitches in that opening frame.
But the 23-year-old righty from Pearl City, Hawaii, quickly settled down after that to retire 14 of the final 16 batters he faced. He went five innings, giving up just two hits and four walks while striking out seven on 99 pitches (56 strikes).
“I knew that wasn’t me in the first inning,” Yamamoto said. “I just came back into the dugout and said ‘One pitch at a time. Let it roll.’ I just went out there and threw like I had the last two games.”
After throwing 14 consecutive scoreless innings in his first two starts — a Marlins record for a starting pitcher to begin his career — Yamamoto has a 0.95 ERA with 19 strikeouts and eight walks over 19 innings.
Marlins starting pitching overall put up a collective 1.96 ERA over the seven-game road trip, giving up just nine earned runs over 41 1/3 innings while striking out 46 strikeouts and allowing just 17 walks.
Jarlin Garcia, Tayron Guerrero and Nick Anderson held the Phillies to two runs over the final four innings to seal the sweep. Anderson earned the first save of his career by holding the Phillies to one run in the ninth.
The Marlins now return home for their final homestand before the All-Star break. They play a pair of three-game series against the Washington Nationals and Phillies.
“Just have to keep playing,” Riddle said. “Keep doing what we’re doing.”