MIAMI (AP) – In a season that’s had far more downs than ups, Chris Coghlan helped deliver a boost for the Miami Marlins.
Coghlan hit a game-ending single against a draw-in infield with one out in the ninth inning Saturday night, giving the Marlins a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies for just their second win.
“It’s huge for the morale,” Coghlan said. “We’ve lost a lot of tight games and our record obviously shows that.”
Marlins 20-year old phenom Jose Fernandez pitched six scoreless innings to outduel Cole Hamels. Miami (2-9), playing without slugger Giancarlo Stanton for the second straight day because of a bruised left shoulder, became the last team in the major leagues to win two games this year.
“It wasn’t perfect, but it’s nice to get a win,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “(Coghlan) was a late addition to the lineup and we talk about opportunities.”
Fernandez gave Miami the lead in the fifth with an RBI single.
Placido Polanco led off the ninth with a walk against reliever Phillippe Aumont (1-1). Greg Dobbs followed with a hard-hit grounder to first baseman Kevin Frandsen, who could not make the play. The ball rolled into right field for a hit, and Polanco advanced to third.
After Austin Kearns struck out, Coghlan hit a hard grounder to second baseman Chase Utley, playing on the infield grass. Utley bobbled the grounder and his throw was late to the plate as Polanco slid headfirst for the winning run.
“I tried to pick it clean on the in-between hop and I wasn’t able to pick it clean,” Utley said.
Steve Cishek (1-1) pitched the ninth.
Fernandez allowed only two hits and two walks while striking out five.
“Every time I go out there I try to enjoy it and have fun,” Fernandez said. “It’s fun to pitch here in Miami in front of the crowd. It was a really good feeling and I’m going to continue to enjoy it.”
Hamels yielded one run and three hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked three.
“Still really trying to get ahead of hitters early,” Hamels said. “I was able to make an improvement there, but I still wasn’t where I know I’m able to just get that first-pitch strike.”
Hamels, who entered with a 10.97 ERA in his first two starts, held the Marlins without a hit until the fifth inning when Adeiny Hechavarria tripled to right-center field with two outs. Hechavarria’s two-out triple was the Marlins’ first three-base hit this season and 16th extra-base hit. Miami is batting .206 and has a paltry .266 slugging percentage.
Fernandez then got his first big league hit to knock in the first run.
“I just threw probably the worst pitch I could throw,” said Hamels on the hit by Fernandez.
Fernandez was pulled after six innings in favor of A.J. Ramos, who promptly allowed a base hit to Domonic Brown, the Phillies’ first hit since Freddy Galvis’ two-out single in the second.
Second baseman Donovan Solano tried turning the double play, but his throw ended up in the stands for an error that allowed Brown to score and make it 1-all.
The Phillies had an opportunity to score in the second. Laynce Nix and Galvis both singled with two outs, but Fernandez calmly retired Erik Kratz to get out of the inning.
“We didn’t hit the kid,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Actually he took them to a good place in the game really. We didn’t hit him. That was the bottom line. He held us and pitched good.”
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