Marlins 2, Diamondbacks 1
Penny allowed one run and four hits in seven-plus innings Tuesday night to lead the surging Florida Marlins to a 2-1 victory over Arizona.
The Diamondbacks have been outscored 10-8 while playing six consecutive one-run games, a club record. They’ve lost four of the six.
“I think when we took the All-Star break, they took our bats with them,” left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. “We get guys on base. We don’t get the big hits to drive them in.”
The latest defeat was Arizona’s eighth in a row on the road, another team record.
“Raul Mondesi is a terrific offensive player,” Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said. “And we needed a terrific offensive player because we are struggling to score runs.”
Surprising Florida extended its winning streak to five games and remained one game behind NL wild card leader Philadelphia.
“It’s fun,” said Braden Looper, who earned his 20th save in 24 chances. “We’re coming out here every day and it really feels like we’re going to win. It’s unbelievable.”
“You have to score runs to win, and we felt we had to hit (for Webb) right there,” Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. “That’s a lot earlier than we like to take him out of the ballgame.”
The outing was Webb’s shortest this year, and he allowed a season-high two runs and nine hits.
Penny (9-8) retired 11 in a row before Gonzalez singled leading off the seventh. Carlos Baerga walked, but Steve Finley flied out, and Penny struck out Danny Bautista and Alex Cintron. In a rare show of emotion, Penny repeatedly pumped his fist as he left the mound.
“That was a big turning point in the game for me,” he said. “If one of those guys scores, we’re probably still playing.”
Penny, who started his professional career in the Diamondbacks organization in 1996, improved to 2-0 lifetime against Arizona with a 1.51 ERA in six starts.
“Penny threw a phenomenal game,” Gonzalez said. “He had his `A’ game tonight. I think against us he tries to reach down and get a little extra because this is where he started.”
“There reaches a point when you can try too hard, and I think as an offensive unit we’ve probably reached that point,” Brenly said. “Everybody wants to get hits, everybody wants to be an igniter to turn this thing around. But the reality is that we don’t need to try harder, we need to try smarter.”
The Marlins have won seven home games in a row, and they’re nine games above .500 for the first time since the 1997 World Series championship season.
“It’s pure fun and, I think, the first time these guys have been involved in anything this exciting,” manager Jack McKeon said. “We’re having a great time and hope it continues all the way to October.”
Florida loaded the bases in the first with nobody out but failed to score. Juan Pierre reached on an infield single, Castillo bunted for a hit and Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. Webb then struck out Lowell and Encarnacion, and Andy Fox grounded out.
That dropped the Marlins’ average with the bases loaded to .198.
Rodriguez argued when called out on strikes in the seventh and was ejected by umpire Scott Nelson. … The game was Penny’s 100th. His record is 35-32. … Webb reached on an infield single in the third and improved his average to .103 (3-for-29). … Arizona’s Elmer Dessens pitched in relief for the first time this season and threw two scoreless innings. … The Diamondbacks’ road losing streak exceeds their previous longest skid of sevenin April 1998.