Florida manager Jack McKeon looks to get his team back on track as the Marlins play the San Diego Padres in the finale of their three-game series at Qualcomm Stadium.
Ramon Vazquez singled in the winning run in the 10th inning, giving the Padres a 6-5 win over Florida on Tuesday. It was the Marlins first loss under McKeon.
Florida won the series opener against San Diego 6-1 on Monday.
McKeon, who took over from Jeff Torborg on Sunday, was attempting to become the second Marlins manager to start 3-0. Florida won it first three games in 1997 under Jim Leyland.
McKeon picked up his first loss as the Marlins manager despite the efforts of Mike Lowell.
The Marlins third baseman has been on a tear at the plate. Lowell homered twice on Tuesday, including a two-run drive off Brandon Villafuerte in the eighth that tied the score at five.
He’s batting .318 (7-for-22) with four home runs and seven RBIs over the last five games. Lowell is tied for third in the NL in home runs (12) and RBIs (32).
The 29-year-old slugger set a career high in home runs last season with 24.
San Diego’s Mark Loretta also homered on Tuesday and drove in three of the Padres’ six runs. Loretta is 5-for-9 at the plate against Florida in this series.
Before Tuesday’s win, San Diego had lost three straight and 13 of 15.
“This was a big win,” said pitcher Matt Herges, who pitched out of a bases loaded jam to get the win. “I can’t emphasize that enough with everything that we’ve been through.”
The Padres are tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the worst record in the NL.
STANDINGS: Marlins - 4th place (tied), 10 GB, NL East. Padres - 5th place, 12 1/2 GB, NL West.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Dontrelle Willis (0-0, 4.50 ERA). Willis will be making his second career start. The 21-year-old southpaw failed to earn a decision despite pitching well in his first start. Willis went seven innings, allowing three runs and striking out seven as Florida defeated Colorado 5-4 on Friday.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Mike Bynum (0-1, 6.08 ERA). Bynum will be making his second straight start after four outings out of the bullpen. The 25-year-old left-hander allowed three runs and struck out five, but failed to earn a decision in the Padres 5-4 win over the New York Mets on Friday.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .331 avg.; Lowell, 12 HRs, 32 RBIs and 25 runs; Juan Pierre, 17 SBs. Padres - Loretta, .287 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 9 HRs and 27 RBIs; Vazquez, 22 runs and 5 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: tied, 1-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - Baseball commissioner Bud Selig told his staff to investigate whether Florida followed minority-hiring guidelines when the team replaced Torborg with McKeon last weekend. In April 1999, Selig sent a letter to all big league clubs requiring them to notify him about certain job vacancies, including manager. The Marlins could be fined if it’s determined they failed to follow Selig’s guidelines. … Sixteen of OF Todd Hollandsworth’s last 18 hits have been for extra bases … Florida is last in the NL with five saves. Padres - 1B Klesko is hitless in his last 16 at bats dropping his average from .271 to .244. … San Diego’s 5.20 team ERA is the third highest mark in the NL. … OF Rondell White is batting .309 (63-for-204) in 17 career games against the Marlins.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 7-12 on the road; Padres - 7-11 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - OF Abraham Nunez (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Josh Beckett (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Mark Redman (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL. Padres - C Gary Bennett (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Adam Eaton (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Kevin Jarvis (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Kevin Walker (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jay Witasick (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Phil Nevin (shoulder), 60-day DL.