Paul Lo Duca is fitting in quite nicely with his new team.
Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a six-player deal Friday, Lo Duca has been everything the Marlins could have hoped for. The veteran catcher, who homered in his first at-bat with Florida, has hit safely in all five games with his new team, batting .500 (9-for-18) with eight RBIs in that span.
“It hasn’t taken him long to be a folk hero here,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said.
Lo Duca came through again Friday. With the bases loaded and none out in the ninth, he hit a two-run single off Milwaukee closer Dan Kolb to lift the Marlins to a 7-6 win.
The Marlins have won two straight following a four-game losing streak.
“Everything (Lo Duca) has done here has been positive,” McKeon said. “Maybe this is the start of something good.”
The Brewers have lost four straight and 14 of their last 18 to fall six games below .500 for the first time this season. They allowed five unearned runs Friday.
“We’re not a good ballclub right now,” Milwaukee pitcher Ben Sheets said. “It has been downhill since the All-Star break.”
Kolb, who was selected to his first All-Star game this season, blew just his second save in 32 chances. He had converted 17 in a row.
With Florida trailing 6-5, pinch-hitter Lenny Harris walked to start the ninth—only the fourth walk given up by Kolb in his past 34 games. Trying to sacrifice, Juan Pierre bunted to Kolb, whose wild throw to first put runners at second and third.
“It’s frustrating, because that’s the first time I’ve made a bad play like that,” Kolb said. “You go over stuff like that in spring training. You pick the ball up and throw it to first. I didn’t do that.”
The Brewers fell to 42-2 when leading after eight innings.