MIAMI (AP) — Jose Reyes got the night off, and still had as many hits as nearly everyone else in the Miami lineup.
That’s how bad things are going for the Marlins these days.
Joe Saunders pitched a three-hitter, Jason Kubel tied a career best with four hits and the Arizona Diamondbacks sent Miami to its sixth straight loss with a 5-0 victory on Friday night.
“To be honest with you, everybody’s struggling,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said after a quick postgame clubhouse meeting. “I’m not going to point fingers toward anyone. I just told the guys, I lose games, you guys win. … If we had a bad ballclub, I’d say it was going to be tough. But I know in my heart, in my brains, in my soul, we’ve got a great ballclub.”
The Marlins have scored six runs and managed only 28 hits during their losing streak. Reyes, the Marlins’ shortstop, was given the night off after batting .205 in Miami’s first 18 games.
Kubel extended his hitting streak to 10 games, his average over that stretch going from .200 to .333. Miguel Montero drove in three runs and Aaron Hill homered for Arizona.
Saunders (2-1) struck out four and walked two, getting the third shutout of his career and dropping his ERA from 1.29 to 0.90.
“A combination of a good pitcher on the mound and a really bad hitting team right now,” Guillen said.
Emilio Bonifacio narrowly beat out an infield single with two out in the ninth before Saunders struck out Donnie Murphy to close the win.
“I was making good pitches and I was just fortunate they were hitting it at my defense,” Saunders said. “My defense was awesome. It was a great night all-around.”
On a day where Miami team president David Samson ran the equivalent of two marathons — 52.4 miles — the Marlins failed to get a runner past first base.
“I guarantee they will score before I run another marathon,” Samson said after his daylong run that raised $550,000 for charity. “We’re obviously struggling, but it’s a long season.”
Miami starter Carlos Zambrano (0-2) pitched six innings, giving up three runs and 10 hits. The Diamondbacks had 15 hits, leaving 12 runners on base.
Saunders got into trouble only once, that coming not because of the Marlins getting hits off him — but actually hitting him.
A comebacker by Hanley Ramirez bounced off Saunders in the fourth inning. He managed to scurry for the ball and threw over to first to beat Ramirez, then limped into the Arizona dugout while grimacing in obvious pain.
But in the fifth, Saunders came back out to the mound, showing no ill effects. And his offense was giving him all the support he needed.
“You always want to get off to a good start especially on an 11-day, 10-game road trip like we’re on now,” Saunders said. “You always want to go out there and get the road trip off on a good start and hopefully save the bullpen.”
In April 2011, Saunders went 0-3 with a 5.93 ERA, as teams hit .333 against him in 27 1-3 innings. So far this season, opponents are batting .186 off Saunders.
“He’s been great, very consistent,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “He’s taken the ball every fifth day and is really dominant with his stuff.”
The Diamondbacks had only five instances of someone having a three-hit effort in their first 19 games. They had both Kubel and Hill get there in the first six innings on Friday, as Zambrano flirted with big trouble for much of his night.
He allowed the last three batters he faced in the first inning to reach, getting out of it only when Kubel was caught in a rundown between second and third for the third out after Montero’s single drove Justin Upton home. Hill led off the second inning with a single, followed by walks to Lyle Overbay and Ryan Roberts.
Saunders followed with a sacrifice fly to right, making it 2-0 — the sixth RBI of the pitcher’s career.
Zambrano gave up three more singles in the third, all of them comebackers, only to escape unscathed. Montero grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, and Roberts flied out three batters later to end the threat. That appeared to settle Zambrano down, until Hill sent a 1-2 pitch over the left-field wall to start the sixth.
“There’s nothing you can do about it. Just come tomorrow and play,” Zambrano said. “The good thing about this is tomorrow’s another day. It’s not like this team isn’t capable of doing a lot of things. Just a bad start.”