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McCarthy sparkles, Parra flexes as Diamondbacks blank Marlins

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Gerardo Parra early and Brandon McCarthy the rest of the way -- that was the recipe for the Arizona Diamondbacks' fourth straight win.

Parra homered on the first pitch of the game, and McCarthy pitched a three-hit shutout to lead Arizona to a 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins Saturday night.

Showcasing his all-around skills in the first inning, Parra hit the first pitch 394 feet to right-center field for his fourth homer of the year.

In the bottom of the inning, a two-out walk to Derek Dietrich and a single by fellow Marlins rookie Marcell Ozuna put runners on first and second. Dietrich tried to score on Chris Coghlan's crisp single to right, but Parra got him with a perfect throw. Catcher Miguel Montero applied the tag to end the inning.

"It was kind of like Parra 2, Marlins 0 at that point," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.

McCarthy took over from there, retiring 14 batters in a row and 24 of the next 26 to record his third career shutout and the first since 2011, when he was with the Oakland A's.

All three hits by the Marlins were singles, and McCarthy walked just two batters. He threw 99 pitches, including just six in the ninth.

"I was spotty in the first," said McCarthy, who now has a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings. "Coming out, I wasn't sharp. I had a focus point I wanted to get back to. From the second inning on, I was able to get back to that and repeat my delivery."

Arizona, which entered the day tied for first place in the National League West with the San Francisco Giants, overcame a scare in the eighth, when Marlins catcher Rob Brantly led off the inning with a long drive that would have been a home run had it not curved about five feet foul.

For McCarthy (1-3), it was his first win since he was hit in the head by an Erick Aybar line drive on Sept. 5. He suffered a skull fracture that required a two-hour surgery.

Meanwhile, the Marlins, the worst team in the league, have lost seven games in a row. Miami drew an announced crowd of 18,786 to Marlins Park on Saturday.

Saturday's hard-luck loser was Marlins' starter Tom Koehler (0-2), who went a career-high six innings and allowed just one run. After allowing Parra's homer on his first pitch, he gave up just two singles and two walks the rest of the way.

"I put us in a position to win," Koehler said. "It's something to build off of for me.

"On the first pitch, I put a fastball right down the middle. He got exactly what he was looking for and took care of it. First pitch of the game, I'm just looking to get ahead in the count."

Marlins manager Mike Redmond summarized the game this way:

"We had a bang-bang play at the plate, and they ambushed us on the first swing of the game -- and that was the difference," he said. "It was a good baseball game. The outcome just wasn't good for us."

NOTES: The Marlins designated veteran reliever Jon Rauch, 34, for assignment late Friday after his ERA climbed to 7.56. He had signed a one-year, $1 million deal before the season. ... To take his spot, the Marlins promoted LHP Duane Below from Class AAA. Below, 27, was 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in Class AAA, posting 15 strikeouts and six walks in 21 1/3 innings. In his big-league career, he is 2-1 with a 3.88 ERA in 27 relief appearances for the Tigers. ... Arizona OF Adam Eaton, trying to come back from an elbow injury, played his first minor-league rehab game Friday and could return to the majors by the end of the month. ... SS Willie Bloomquist, out with a rib injury, is ready to play in a minor-league rehab stint. He could return to the majors by the end of the month. ... Marlins rookie SS Adeiny Hechavarria, who hit second in the order most often last year in Class AAA, had been batting eighth for Miami. But he hit second on Friday and Saturday, and that's where the Marlins would like to keep him. So far, he leads the majors with five triples, using his speed and the Marlins' big stadium to his advantage. ... RHP Steve Cishek, the Marlins' struggling closer, has shut down right-handed hitters, holding them to a .125 batting average. But lefties are hitting .324 against him. ... Arizona RHP Daniel Hudson, out since last year's Tommy John surgery, might be back before his projected All-Star-break return. He faced live hitters Friday for the first time since the surgery and could be back as soon as late June. ... Marlins 1B Logan Morrison, who has yet to play this season while recovering from knee surgery, could begin minor-league rehab games on Monday at Class A Jupiter. He is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on May 30, a target date that is still possible. ... Arizona 2B Aaron Hill's broken left hand is healing slower than expected.
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