The Miami Marlins just enjoyed their best month in more than a year.
Giving the ball to rookie Jose Fernandez could help them get off to a good start in July.
Fernandez gets his first look at the San Diego Padres on Monday night in the conclusion of this season series.
After going 14-41 in April and May, the Marlins (29-51) finished off a 15-10 June with their seventh victory in nine games, 6-2 on Sunday with Jeff Mathis delivering a walkoff grand slam. It was Mathis’ second and the 3,000th homer in the franchise’s 20-year history.
The victory capped Miami’s most successful month since finishing 21-8 last May.
“After April and May, to do what we did in June is great,” manager Mike Redmond said. “Are we happy? Yes. Are we satisfied? No.”
The Marlins have been more than satisfied with Fernandez (4-4, 2.98 ERA), who went 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in five June starts after allowing one run and four hits in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Minnesota. The 20-year-old Cuban, though, did not get the decision and was admittedly not at his best during the five-inning outing.
“The most important part for me today was that my stuff was horrible. I was trying to battle through it,” Fernandez told the Marlins’ official website. “… We got the ‘W’ and that’s what matters.”
The Marlins have won five of Hernandez’s seven starts in Miami. He’s 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA in those outings, holding opponents to a .189 batting average.
That doesn’t bode well for a Padres team batting .194 with three total runs since winning the first of this four-game set, 9-2 on Friday. Carlos Quentin’s pinch-hit homer accounted for both runs Sunday when San Diego (40-42) lost for the eighth time in 12 games following a season-best 7-0 run.
The Padres will try to get back on track with Jason Marquis (9-3, 3.99) looking to rebound from his first loss in 12 starts. The veteran right-hander had won eight consecutive decisions - his longest stretch since 2004 - before giving up all the runs and walking a season high-tying five in 4 1-3 innings of Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to Philadelphia.
San Diego had won five straight and 10 of 11 when he started.
“It’s just one of those days,” Marquis said after his second-shortest outing of 2013. “I just wasn’t able to get a feel for anything and I paid the price.”
Marquis, though, hasn’t paid much of a price for his major-league worst 53 walks, as he’s one win from reaching double-digits for the first time since going 15-13 for Colorado in 2009.
Marquis was at his best this season against Miami on May 8, throwing eight innings of five-hit ball with one walk in a 1-0 home win.
Marcell Ozuna was hitless in three at-bats off Marquis in that contest, but he’s batting .382 with a homer and nine RBIs in a team-best nine-game hitting streak.
Fellow Marlins rookie Derek Dietrich is 5 for 11 in this series after going 1 for 3 with a two-run double Sunday.
Padres rookie second baseman Jedd Gyorko (right groin) is not expected to return from the DL on Monday. San Diego is also still awaiting the return of injured infielders Everth Cabrera (left hamstring) and Yonder Alonso (right hand).
The Padres have won four of six from the Marlins this season.