ARLINGTON, TX – (AP) – The young Florida Marlins are starting to have some fun with their 80-year-old interim manager.
Logan Morrison had a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth after the Marlins got a lucky break and went on to a 6-4 win over the AL West-leading Texas Rangers on Sunday night to end a winning road trip under Jack McKeon.
“It was a very big win. The kids came through in fine fashion,” McKeon said. “We’re playing with a lot more energy. The guys are feeling happy and they’re enjoying themselves, having fun and playing relaxed. Everybody’s filling in for each other. That might be the turning point of the season, who knows?”
It was their first come-from-behind victory under McKeon, who became their manager again after Edwin Rodriguez resigned June 19. The Marlins are still last in the NL East, but finished a 5-4 road trip and are 6-6 overall since the managerial change.
“No matter what happens before or what happens after, we’ve got to keep it going,” Morrison said. “We can’t think about what we have done. We’ve got to keep pushing. … (McKeon) is very energetic on the bench. He keeps you locked in. He’s a good man to have at the helm.”
Rangers starter C.J. Wilson, picked as an All-Star by his manager earlier in the day, struck out nine but left with one out in the eighth and the tying run at third base. Florida got even and went ahead against three relievers.
Florida pushed across four runs in the eighth, taking advantage after what could have been an inning- and rally-ending play. With two out and runners on the corners, Mark Lowe (2-2) faked a pickoff attempt to third and turned back to find Gaby Sanchez leaning off first. But Lowe’s throw in the dirt allowed Florida’s lone All-Star to get back in safely — and that was costly.
Hanley Ramirez followed with a slow chopper that shortstop Elvis Andrus couldn’t handle, and Bryan Petersen scored the tying run on the error. Darren Oliver faced only one hitter: Morrison, whose slicing liner was out of the reach of diving right fielder Nelson Cruz. Closer Neftali Feliz then came in but Mike Stanton responded with an RBI single.
Rangers manager Ron Washington, who had been ejected an inning earlier, said the error by Andrus was the big play.
“That’s a chance for a major league shortstop to make and he didn’t make it,” Washington said. “There’s no excuse.”
Michael Dunn (5-5), the second of six Marlins pitchers, gave up an unearned run in 1 1-3 innings. Dunn and three other relievers all pitched in the eighth before Leo Nunez came on in the ninth for his 23rd save in 26 chances.
David Murphy hit a run-scoring triple in the ninth before Nunez got Ian Kinsler to fly out to right to end the game.
Wilson allowed two runs, one earned, and five hits after Washington, who will manage the AL team in Arizona, used one of his seven managerial picks to put the closer-turned-starter on the All-Star team. The left-hander is 8-3 this season after going 15-8 in 33 starts last year when Texas went to its first World Series.
“Got really good news this morning about making the team. I was super, super happy about that,” Wilson said. “Oh yeah, right before the first inning, my zipper broke in my pants. That was kind of odd, foreshadowing as well.”
Cruz and All-Star Adrian Beltre had solo shots for the Rangers. Cruz pulled a pitch deep into the left-field seats in the second for his 20th homer. Beltre’s 15th was a 400-foot shot that landed in the Rangers bullpen in the fourth.
Sanchez had two hits for Florida, a two-out double in the first and an RBI single in the sixth.
With the loss, the Rangers (44-41) lost sole possession of the AL West lead they had held for 36 days. The Angels caught them with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
Marlins starter Javier Vazquez allowed two runs while pitching into the seventh. The right-hander gave up an unearned run over seven innings in his previous start, a 1-0 loss at Oakland.
Washington and Rangers first-base coach Gary Pettis were ejected by umpire Angel Hernandez in the seventh. Pettis was tossed after arguing that Dunn balked on a play when Cruz was caught stealing. Washington came out of the dugout and was thrown out as well, then argued vehemently for a couple more minutes.
“It was pretty much a balk,” Wilson said.