Blame it on Irma.
The Marlins have been in a nosedive since Aug. 27, the day the future hurricane formed as a tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa. Friday’s 10-2 loss to the Brewers gave them 16 defeats in their past 18 games.
The series between the two teams was scheduled for Marlins Park but was moved to Miller Park due to lingering hurricane-related infrastructure concerns in South Florida.
As a result, the Marlins were the designated “home” team in the Brewers’ ballpark. The distinction failed to produce a positive result for the reeling Marlins.
“We talked about this being a big game,” said manager Don Mattingly, referring to the significance of the outcome to the playoff-contending Brewers. “We wanted to play this game with the idea that you have to play your best baseball.”
The Brewers walloped four home runs, including a Neil Walker grand slam, to send the Marlins to their sixth consecutive loss. Reliever Brian Ellington gave up two of the homers — Walker’s and an Eric Thames solo shot — in the Brewers’ eight-run eighth inning.
“Made some bad pitches, walked some guys,” said Ellington, who was charged with six runs on four hits and a pair of walks in the decisive inning. “You can point fingers at whatever. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s about a negative 5.”
The Marlins’ frustration boiled over in the eighth when the Brewers broke it open. Mattingly was ejected after disputing a Milwaukee lineup change during the scoring outburst. He thought home plate umpire Ryan Additon signaled a double switch when the Brewers made a straight-up move.
“They signaled double, the umpire said it was double,” Mattingly said. “It was just confusion.”
With the score knotted 2-2 in the eighth, Thames put the Brewers on top with a solo homer off Ellington After the Brewers loaded the bases, Walker blew it open with a grand slam off Ellington. It was Walker’s third career grand slam.
“My job for me there is to keep the score 2-2 until Donnie takes the ball,” Ellington said. “Obviously that wasn’t done. It’s just a failure for me tonight.”
Mattingly then went to Dustin McGowan, who gave up a three-run homer to Santana.
The Marlins did little offensively, managing only two hits after the second.
▪ Dee Gordon’s career-long hitting streak ended Friday at 17 games when he went 0 for 4.
▪ Marlins pitchers have given up 53 runs during their their six-game losing streak.
▪ The last time the Marlins lost as many as 16 games during an 18-game stretch was during the 2013 season.
▪ Mattingly’s ejection was his fifth this season and first since May 19.
▪ The six-game losing streak for the Marlins is their longest since losing six straight from Aug. 3-8, 2015.