Pep talk helps Kim lead Marlins past Rockies 4-3

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MIAMI (AP)—Byung-Hyun Kim needed 126 pitches, a pep talk on the mound and plenty of bullpen help to beat his former team Wednesday.

Kim lasted only 5 1-3 innings, but he had a career-high 10 strikeouts and helped the Florida Marlins edge the Colorado Rockies 4-3.

When a struggling Kim walked the leadoff batter in the third, manager Fredi Gonzalez paid a visit to the mound, the first time he has done so without changing pitchers. The nature of the conversation?

“Consultation and advice,” Gonzalez said. “No scolding, no cussing. I told him how good he was, basically.”

“He wake me up,” Kim said.

The visit transformed Kim, who struck out the next three batters on 10 pitches, then struck out five over the next 2 1-3 innings while allowing only one hit.

Kim survived a 37-pitch first inning, when the Rockies scored twice but left the bases loaded. They left them full again in the ninth, when closer Kevin Gregg gave up a run but struck out the side, including Yorvit Torrealba to end the game.

Kim (6-5) walked six, allowed five hits, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and allowed the Rockies to steal four bases. But he departed with a 4-2 lead.

“He was a little jittery,” Gonzalez said. “But he got through it.”

Catcher Matt Treanor said Gonzalez’s visit to the mound helped.

“He basically went out there and told him, ‘You’ve got to pound the strike zone and force contact. If you need to tell them what’s coming, tell them what’s coming. But you’ve got good enough stuff, and you’re deceptive enough to throw the ball right over the plate,”’ Treanor said.

“The message was sent.”

The Rockies could have used a pep talk, because they squandered chances all night. They stranded 14 runners, tying a season high, largely because they struck out a season-high 16 times.

“That’s a tough night at the dish,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We keep battling. The bottom line is we left 14 men on base.”

Three Florida relievers combined for 2 2-3 hitless innings before Gregg gave up three hits in the ninth, including an RBI single by Garrett Atkins. Gregg earned his 22nd save in 24 chances when Torrealba struck out on three pitches to end the game.

“Obviously it didn’t end the way I wanted,” Torrealba said. “He threw three really good pitches to me.”

Florida’s Miguel Cabrera had three hits, including his 26th homer. Josh Willingham also had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run for the Marlins, who won for only the second time in nine games.

“I don’t care whether it’s ugly—it feels good,” Gonzalez said. “Ugly is not in the column. It’s wins and losses.”

Josh Fogg (5-7) allowed eight hits and four runs, three earned, in five-plus innings. Fogg was pitching on nine days’ rest after his last scheduled start was rained out.

Colorado’s Willy Taveras reached four times and stole three bases, a career high, but he was stranded three times.

The first two Rockies to bat scored. Taveras led off the first with his 32nd bunt single of the year, stole second and came home on a double by Kaz Matsui. Todd Helton doubled in another run, but Colorado left the bases loaded.

The Marlins made it 2-all in the bottom of the first. They loaded the bases with two walks sandwiched around a single. Willingham singled home a run, and another run scored when center fielder Taveras bobbled the ball for an error.

Florida went ahead to stay in the fourth when Willingham singled, stole second and came home on a single by Matt Treanor. Cabrera hit a two-out homer on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth. ^Notes: Kim’s pitch count was the highest for a Florida pitcher since Josh Beckett threw 126 on May 20, 2004, against Houston. … The Rockies traded Kim to Florida on May 14 for RHP Jorge Julio. … When Taveras stole second in the fourth inning, Kim crouched to avoid the throw, then inexplicably reached up and caught it. … Treanor improved to 5-for-6 against Fogg. … Cabrera moved ahead of Derrek Lee into sole possession of second place on the Marlins’ home-run list with 130. Mike Lowell holds the club record with 143.

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