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Marlins extend Dodgers' skid to eight

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- The Miami Marlins turned to their youngsters on Friday night at Dodger Stadium and watched their three-game losing streak come to an end.

Juan Pierre lined a single to left field in the seventh inning, scoring Rob Brantly from third to break a tie and lead the Marlins to a 5-4 victory over the Dodgers.

But it was a 20-year-old pitcher and 23-year-old infielder who played big parts in the Marlins' come-from-behind victory and the Dodgers' eighth straight loss.

The Dodgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning when Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer off Marlins starter Jose Fernandez, but the young pitcher settled down enough to pick up his second victory of the season.

"My start in Cincinnati taught me a lot," Fernandez said, referring to an April 18 outing in which he gave up five runs in four innings. "In Cincinnati, I worried because I gave up three runs. (Friday) I said, 'I gave up three runs. Now I'm going to try and make good pitches and not give up any more runs."

Fernandez kept the Dodgers off the board for his remaining five innings and worked his way out of a tight spot in the bottom of the fifth.

The Dodgers put the first two runners on base with no outs, but Juan Uribe was picked off at second base to kill the momentum. Fernandez struck out Nick Punto and Gonzalez to end the threat.

"We were talking before the game to our guys about (Fernandez)," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's one of those guys that you want to get early because once he gets settled, he's going to get better as the game goes on. He was impressive. He was aggressive in the strike zone and wasn't afraid of anybody."

Young second baseman Derek Dietrich, playing in only his second game since being recalled from the Double-A level, erased the Marlins' three-run deficit with a three-run homer in the fourth.

"It was in the middle of the plate," Dodgers rookie pitcher Matt Magill said of the fateful pitch to Dietrich. "It's tough because I walked two guys before. So I tried not to walk the other guy 3-2 and it just went over the plate. If you make quality pitches, you get guys out. If you don't, you pay for it."

Dietrich singled in his first major-league at-bat earlier this week when the Marlins were in San Diego. Because Dodgers fans in the right-field pavilion threw the home run ball back onto the field, Dietrich got his second souvenir baseball in as many games.

"That's the game," he said. "I try to go up there with the same approach. Sometimes you get the job done. I'm just glad that I got the opportunity to get it done. I got a good swing on it."

Marlins manager Mike Redmond said, "You always hope for a kid to come up and be comfortable and get big hits. That's what you're always hoping for. But at the same time, you don't know. There's always that uncertainty with young players.

"I got to see him last year in the minor leagues and I really liked him. I liked the way he approached the game and he came up big for us (Friday)."

The Marlins pushed the deciding runs across in the seventh against reliever Ronald Belisario.

Brantly led off the inning with a single to right field and coasted to third when pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan doubled off the top of the center-field wall. The umpires reviewed the hit at the request of Redmond, but the play stood.

Pierre followed with his run-scoring single. The Marlins added an insurance run when Coghlan scored on Adeiny Hechavarria's double-play grounder.

The Dodgers crept to within one run in the eighth when A.J. Ellis singled home Matt Kemp from second base. Ellis was eventually stranded at third base when Dee Gordon grounded out to second.

"We hung on and it was a good effort with some big pitches, some big at-bats and a nice win," Redmond said.

NOTES: The Dodgers selected the contract of first baseman/outfielder Scott Van Slyke on Friday from Triple-A Albuquerque. Van Slyke was leading the Pacific Coast League with a .397 batting average. ... Gonzalez returned to the starting lineup after leaving Wednesday's game against Arizona with a strained neck. An MRI showed no damage, but the Dodgers didn't think the strain was severe enough to warrant a trip to the disabled list. ... Marlins infielder Chris Valaika had two pins inserted in his broken left wrist on Friday in Miami. He broke the wrist on Tuesday at San Diego. ... Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler will start Sunday in place of left-hander Wade LeBlanc, Redmond said.
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