Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins muster only three hits in 5-0 loss to Cardinals

Tom Koehler, firing a pitch Saturday, has a 7.36 ERA in his past five starts after taking the loss against the Cardinals.
Tom Koehler, firing a pitch Saturday, has a 7.36 ERA in his past five starts after taking the loss against the Cardinals. AP

Adam Wainwright looked like an All-Star again on Saturday night.

And Tom Koehler’s recent pitching woes continued to hurt the Marlins’ already thin starting rotation.

Wainwright, a three-time All-Star, tossed a three-hitter on a season-high 120 pitches that propelled the Cardinals to a 5-0 shutout of the Marlins at Busch Stadium.

The Marlins (48-42) were shut out for the fourth time this season and the first time since a 6-0 blanking at Arizona on June 12.

Adeiny Hechavarria managed two hits, including a double to lead off the sixth inning that broke up Wainwright’s no-hit bid.

“Since I saw he was throwing a no-hitter, I told myself I need to get a hit on this guy,” Hechavarria said. “I can’t let him get a no-hitter on us.”

The Marlins, who had a four-game winning streak snapped, squandered Hechavarria’s extra-base hit and were also unable to score following his eighth-inning single and Christian Yelich’s seventh-inning double.

“We have to give [Wainwright] a lot of credit that we weren’t able to do anything with him,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I thought our bullpen did a nice job. [Mike Dunn] gives up the home run but gives us another inning. Our guys keep it there, but we just weren’t able to mount anything.”

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly talks about his team's 5-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, July 16, 2016.

On the flipside, the Cardinals had little trouble doing damage against Koehler.

After giving up a double to Tommy Pham and a walk to Aledmys Diaz in the third, Stephen Piscotty smacked a double to left to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. Randal Grichuk followed with a double to score Piscotty, and Matt Adams singled to make it 4-0.

Koehler lasted four innings or less for the third time in his past five starts and allowed four runs in an inning for the third time in that span. In four innings, Koehler gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out four on 91 pitches.

Had it not been for a pair of defensive gems in right field by Giancarlo Stanton and another at shortstop by Hechavarria, the damage could have been worse.

“Right now, everything that’s getting hit is falling in,” Koehler said. “A little bit of a rough patch. You kind of hope those [defensive] plays will kind of start swinging the momentum back on myself. It just doesn’t seem to be the case right now. You just have to go back to the drawing board.”

Koehler, dropped to 6-8, won three consecutive decisions from June 9-19, compiling a 2.00 ERA during that span. But over his past five starts he has a 7.36 ERA, allowing 36 hits, 18 earned runs and eight walks while striking out 14 in 22 combined innings.

The Marlins, who are searching for options to stabilize the fifth spot in their rotation, have gone 33-20 in the combined starts by Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley and Wei-Yin Chen this season.

But they are 15-22 in starts made by anyone else, including 7-11 when Koehler starts.

“It’s unfortunate with how the team’s playing that it’s coming now,” Koehler said. “It’s something I’ve always been able to do. I see it as being something I’ll be able to do again. By no means am I looking at the last four games and writing myself off. I’m just going to go out there and keep giving it 100 percent. It’s all I can do.”

Dunn entered in the fifth and went two innings, but he gave up a solo homer to Jhonny Peralta in the fifth. It was the third homer that Dunn has allowed in  14 2/3 innings this season. Nick Wittgren and Dustin McGowan each pitched a scoreless inning after Dunn departed.

▪ Infielder Cole Figueroa was signed and optioned to Triple A New Orleans, and pitcher Asher Wojciechowski was designated for assignment.

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