Not surprisingly, a trip to the nation’s capital has helped the Marlins end their woes.
The Marlins had lost four in a row before arriving at Nationals Park to face a Washington team that was riding a five-game win streak. Florida, which has six losing streaks of four games or longer since the end of May, has bounced back by allowing one run in the first two games of this series.
Florida is 14-3 in Washington since the start of the 2010 season and that .824 winning percentage is the best for one team against a divisional foe on the road. The Marlins have also claimed 12 of 13 at Nationals Park, including each of the past five matchups.
Having lost four consecutive starts and possessing one major league win, Hand (1-7, 4.02 ERA) wouldn’t seem a likely candidate to keep that run of stellar pitching performances going.
The left-hander held Atlanta scoreless for five innings Tuesday at Turner Field but didn’t make it out of the sixth while giving up three runs in a 7-1 loss.
“He pitched good for five innings, but it’s a nine-inning game,” manager Jack McKeon said. “Inexperience, really. You get the lead, you’ve got to close. You’ve got to shut ‘em down if you want to be a winner.”
Hand, who earned his lone win July 7 against Houston, didn’t make it out of the fourth inning in his only matchup with Washington (71-79) on July 28. He gave up one run and three hits but walked a career-high six after being recalled from the minors.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.45 ERA in his five starts since consecutive victories last month. He gave up two runs to the Mets on Tuesday before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of a 3-2 win.
“That was his ninth start and I’m pleased what I’m seeing,” manager Davey Johnson told the team’s official website. “He was a little quicker today. I know he could have gone further, but we are right in the ballgame and we had a chance to win it.”