After scoreless weekend, Marlins rebound in Colorado

Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The Miami Marlins began their road trip with historic ineptitude. They ended it riding a wave Thursday, beating the Colorado Rockies 5-3 to win for the third time in the four-game series.
"Great job to salvage what looked like it was going to be a really rough road trip," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond, referring to three shutout losses at Milwaukee that left the Marlins scoreless for a franchise-record 37 consecutive innings.
The Marlins and Rockies were scoreless in the seventh inning Thursday when rain halted play for 1 hour, 33 minutes. The Marlins scored a run in the eighth on a wild pitch by Adam Ottavino and blew the game open by bombarding Wilton Lopez for four runs in the ninth.
Asked whether Lopez seemed to be hanging pitches, Redmond diplomatically said, "It looked like our guys had pretty good swings at him. I'm not sure if they were hanging, but our guys put together some good at-bats and right at the right time."
The Rockies made it interesting with three runs in the ninth when Redmond wanted to give Kevin Slowey, who had not pitched in four days, one inning of work.
Michael Cuddyer doubled home a run as rookie center fielder Jake Marisnick had the ball hit the heel of his glove as he neared the wall. Wilin Rosario followed with a run-scoring single and took second when Marisnick made an ill-advised throw home.
Closer Steve Cishek relieved Slowey and got Charlie Blackmon to pop out, but Nolan Arenado singled and Rosario scored when right fielder Giancarlo Stanton bobbled the ball. Cishek quickly regrouped and got Jonathan Herrera to ground into a game-ending double play on the first pitch to earn his career-high 20th save.
The loss left the Rockies with a 3-4 record on their 10-game homestand to start the second half. They have scored three or fewer runs in four straight games and nine of their past 11. The Marlins head home following a 3-4 road trip that began with their lost weekend at Milwaukee.
After Rockies starter Juan Nicasio pitched seven scoreless innings, Ottavino (0-2) struck out the first two batters he faced when he took the mound in the eighth. However, Rob Brantly grounded a single to right and took third when Greg Dobbs did likewise.
After throwing a slider to Adeiny Hechavarria, Ottavino wanted to come right back with a little wider 1-1 slider and "make him fish a little bit." Rosario tried to backhand Ottavino's slider rather than shift his body, and was unable to keep the ball from bouncing away for a run-scoring wild pitch.
"I got to block that ball," Rosario said. "That's my responsibility. Maybe if that run doesn't score, we come back in the next inning. I think I (didn't) react ... on time. I need to be more ready for that pitch; that's the key. If you let that ball get too close to you, you don't have too many options. I have to be there sooner to block that ball."
The magnitude of that run quickly faded as the Marlins strafed Lopez in the ninth. The right-hander gave up back-to-back doubles to Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton to open the inning. Ed Lucas singled home a run, and Donovan Solano followed a two-run homer, just his second home run in 140 at-bats this season. It came on a first-pitch sinker.
"I waited for that pitch," Solano said. "A little bit in, I got a good swing on it. That's it, and I make a home run."
After Nicasio set the side down in order in the seventh and had retired 10 straight batters, the game was halted by rain. Regardless of the delay, Nicasio, who continued his resurgence with his third straight strong start, was likely done, since the Rockies rarely let their starters exceed 100 pitches, and he was then at 98. He held the Marlins to two hits with one walk while striking out a season-high nine, one shy of his career high.
"I think he put a lot of work into being consistent and throwing fastballs for a strike," Rosario said. "I think that's the key pitch for him."
Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi limited the Rockies to three singles in six innings. He rebounded from his worst start of the season Saturday at Milwaukee, where he allowed a season-high six runs in four innings, his shortest start this year. Having thrown just 78 pitches before the rain came, Eovaldi could have returned had the delay been shorter.
"I was hoping it'd be a little rain cell, but it happened to be, what, like an hour long," Eovaldi said. "It's disappointing, because I was going so good. But I'm still pleased with the outing."
Miami's starters went 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA in the series. The teams combined for just 21 runs in the series, 13 by the Marlins, who won two two-run games and lost by one run.
Redmond said, "If you'd have told me coming in here that the highest score in a game would be five runs, I would've told you you're crazy."
NOTES: Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fourth inning. He aggravated his sprained right middle finger while striking out in the first inning and is listed day-to-day. ... Marlins OF Marcell Ozuna is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery Friday in Miami to repair a ligament tear and avulsion fracture in his left thumb. He was injured Monday night while making a diving catch. Ozuna was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville after the game, but the option was voided, and Ozuna was placed on the major league disabled list retroactive to Tuesday. An avulsion fracture occurs when a piece of the bone tears away with the ligament. ... INF Chris Valaika, whom the Marlins designated for assignment Tuesday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. ... Rockies RHP Jhoulys Chacin said his upper left thigh where he was struck with a line drive Tuesday was sore and bruised "but nothing bad." He is certain he will make his scheduled start Sunday against Milwaukee. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki was given a planned day off from starting but pinch-hit in the eighth, popped out and stayed in the game.

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