Although it wasn’t pretty, the Florida Marlins picked up a win in their first game under interim manager Edwin Rodriguez. Seldom do teams have to be perfect, though, when facing the woeful Baltimore Orioles.
The Marlins look to win their second straight under Rodriguez and fourth in a row overall Thursday when they go for the sweep over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
Florida (35-36) fired Fredi Gonzalez earlier on Wednesday after he went 276-279 in three-plus seasons, and replaced him with Rodriguez, who was summoned from Triple-A New Orleans.
Rodriguez’s debut started a bit shaky, as Baltimore took a 4-0 lead after two innings, but the Marlins rallied to take a 6-4 lead after seven. The struggling bullpen then made things interesting by giving up a run and loading the bases in the eighth, but Brian Sanches(notes) got out of the jam and Florida held on for a 7-5 victory.
“It was a very good win, especially in a close game,” said Rodriguez, the first major league manager born in Puerto Rico. “Everything went well.”
Chris Coghlan(notes), Gaby Sanchez(notes) and Jorge Cantu(notes) each drove in two runs for Florida, which is trying to win four straight for the first time since a four-game sweep over the New York Mets from May 13-16. A win in the finale would also help the Marlins get back to .500 for the first time since they were 28-28 on June 4.
Florida has had little trouble against the Orioles, winning 11 of 12, and pretty much every team has given Baltimore problems lately.
The Orioles (19-52) have dropped 21 of 25, and are near the pace set by the 1962 Mets for the modern-day record of losses in a season with 120.
Millwood (1-8, 5.12 ERA) finally earned his first victory after giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings of Friday’s 5-4 win in San Diego, snapping a career-worst eight-game losing streak.
Although he earned that elusive first victory, Millwood again got into trouble early, yielding all three runs in the first inning. Millwood has given up at least two first-inning runs in each of his last six starts and 18 overall in the first inning during that span.
“I’ve got to quit giving up so many runs in the first inning and get us off to a little bit better start and give the guys a chance to build a lead,” he said.
Millwood should have better luck against a Florida team that has failed to score in the first inning in eight of nine games. He is 6-9 with a 5.47 ERA in 23 starts against the Marlins, but hasn’t faced them since 2004.
Florida counters with Nate Robertson(notes) (5-5, 4.44), who allowed three runs and five hits with a season-high six strikeouts in six innings of Friday’s 7-4 win over Tampa Bay. The left-hander earned his first victory since beating the Mets on May 15.
Robertson is 4-2 with a 4.36 ERA in 10 games against the Orioles, and this will be his first start against them since 2008.