Trying to protect their slim lead atop the National League wild card race, the Florida Marlins hope to make it three in a row over the Los Angeles Dodgers as the teams complete a four-game series at Pro Player Stadium.
After dropping the opener 9-3 Monday, the Marlins have taken two in a row— both in extra innings—including Wednesday’s 2-1 victory in 11.
Two different reserves have served as heroes in the wins. Utility infielder Mike Mordecai provided the game-winning homer Wednesday, one night after third-string catcher Ramon Castro hit one with two outs in the 13th inning.
The victory was the Marlins’ 15th in their final at-bat, including five since the All-Star break.
Florida, which moved atop the wild card standings for the first time this season Tuesday, remained a half-game ahead of Philadelphia, which beat Milwaukee 11-4 Wednesday.
Los Angeles, which lost for the third time in four games, fell 4 1/2 games back in the wild card race.
The Dodgers, last in the league in runs, will face Mark Redman, who owns the NL’s sixth-best ERA at 2.82.
Redman has a 1.66 ERA over his last five starts, during which he is 3-1. In a 7-1 win at Milwaukee on Saturday, the left-hander gave up an earned run, six hits, one walk and struck out seven over eight innings.
Redman has won five of his last seven decisions.
“It makes it easy when the guy has command of all his pitches and keeps the ball down,” Marlins catcher Mike Redmond said. “He kept them off-balance and seemed to know when they were going to swing.
“He’s been doing it all year for us, basically doing the same stuff, throwing changeups and fastballs whenever and wherever he wanted.”
STANDINGS: Dodgers - 3rd place, 12 GB, NL West. Marlins - 2nd place, 11 1/2 GB, NL East.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Andy Ashby (3-9, 5.20 ERA). Ashby missed his scheduled start Wednesday due to the flu. The 36-year-old right-hander last pitched Friday, posting a 3-1 home victory over the Chicago Cubs to end a five-start losing streak. He went five innings, allowing an earned runs and three hits while striking out five. It was his first win since June 21 against Anaheim. Ashby is 5-3 with a 2.74 ERA in 14 career starts against the Marlins. He is 1-5 on the road this season with a 4.91 ERA.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Redman (10-5, 2.82 ERA). Redman, in his first season in the NL after five years in the AL, is facing Los Angeles for the first time.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .293 avg.; Jeromy Burnitz, 23 HRs; Shawn Green, 57 RBIs and 59 runs; Dave Roberts, 30 SBs. Marlins - Luis Castillo, .316 avg. and 78 runs; Mike Lowell, 31 HRs and 98 RBIs; Juan Pierre, 56 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Dodgers, 4-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Dodgers - Rickey Henderson walked as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and stole second—his first stolen base of the season and the 1,404th of his career, extending his major league record. … RHP Guillermo Mota pitched 1 1-3 perfect innings and has retired 23 consecutive hitters in his past five outings. … C Lo Duca drove in the lone run Wednesday. He is batting .385 (5-for-13) over his last three games with four RBIs. Marlins - SS Mordecai also hit a homer in extra innings at Atlanta on July 23. … 1B Derrek Lee returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing four starts with a sore shoulder. He was 1-for-4. … CF Pierre had an RBI Wednesday, his first in the last 15 games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Dodgers - 27-32 on the road; Marlins - 37-24 at home.
INJURIES: Dodgers - C Todd Hundley (back), 15-day DL; 1B Fred McGriff (abductor muscle), 15-day DL; OF Brian Jordan (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Troy Brohawn (rotator cuff), 15-day DL; LHP Kazuhisa Ishii (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Dreifort (knee), 60-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL. Marlins - 1B Lee (shoulder), day-to-day; RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 15-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL.