Marlins Set To Battle Diamondbacks
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MIAMI (AP) — It turns out a trip to Miami may have been just what the Arizona Diamondbacks needed to heat up their bats.
Nothing seems to be doing that for the Marlins.
Arizona looks to build on one of its best offensive performances of the year and extend light-hitting Miami’s losing streak to seven Saturday night.
The Diamondbacks (24-18) tied a season high with three home runs in a 9-2 victory in Miami on Friday night. Their nine runs and 16 hits were both one shy of season highs.
“I just hope we can do this more often,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “It would sure help our pitching staff.”
Gibson’s team had only three homers over the previous seven games while scoring 16 runs.
The Diamondbacks have had no such problems in Miami lately. They’ve won seven of eight there while averaging 7.4 runs and batting .317 with 10 homers and 20 doubles.
Paul Goldschmidt will look to stay hot and take advantage of a Marlins staff which has let opponents hit .340 during a six-game losing streak. Coming off a three-game set against Atlanta in which he batted .545 with five extra-base hits, Goldschmidt homered in each of his first two at-bats Friday and finished 4 for 5 with four RBIs.
“Watch the kid, watch the way he stays with his approach, he’s dangerous,” Gibson said of Goldschmidt, who has six homers and 13 RBIs in his last four road games.
Third baseman Eric Chavez also enters Saturday on a tear. He tallied four hits Friday, including his first home run since April 29, and is batting .486 in May with nine RBIs in 11 games.
It seems no one is swinging a hot bat for Miami (11-31). The Marlins have combined for 11 runs while batting .219 during the six-game skid, which matches a season high.
With key bats like Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Donovan Solano, Casey Kotchman and Chris Valaika all sidelined, the Marlins depend on production from players like Justin Ruggiano, who is 3 for his last 29 with 10 strikeouts.
Hoping to take advantage of Miami’s struggles is Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 5.63 ERA), who is looking to avoid going a career-high 10th straight start without a victory.
The right-hander deserved to win Sunday following his best start of the season, shutting out Philadelphia for eight innings, but Arizona went on to lose 4-2 in 10 innings. He had surrendered three-plus runs in each of his prior seven starts.
“The disappointment is us not getting a win,” said McCarthy, who hasn’t won since Aug. 31. “I really don’t care if I don’t get a win. It’s an inconsequential stat.”
Miami’s Tom Koehler (0-1, 3.31) is looking for his first major league win, having lost his only two previous starts.
The right-hander was used out of the bullpen after being called up from Triple-A New Orleans on April 19, throwing 7 1-3 scoreless innings over his first four appearances. In his last three games, however, he has given up six runs and 10 hits over nine innings while striking out just two.
His first start of 2013 came Sunday, contending with baserunners in every inning but giving up just two runs in five innings of a 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I don’t feel much different than if I would have been starting consistently,” Koehler said. “So I guess that’s a good sign, and now I can build off it.”
Koehler threw a career-high 79 pitches in that game, so it seems unlikely he’ll provide much rest for a Marlins bullpen which has gone at least three innings in seven straight games. Three Miami relievers combined to throw six innings Friday.
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