MIAMI (AP) – In their attempt at an unprecedented 14th consecutive interleague win, the Miami Marlins will face a pitcher who’s been at his best in recent matchups against NL opponents.
While helping the Texas Rangers avoid a season-high fifth consecutive defeat, Yu Darvish looks to improve to 6-1 lifetime in interleague games and win a career-best fourth consecutive start Wednesday night.
Christian Yelich had a career-high four hits, including a two-run, two-out go-ahead single in the seventh, and finished with four RBIs as Miami (34-30) won 8-5 in Tuesday’s series opener. Miami’s 13th consecutive interleague win matched the MLB mark set by the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay in 2004.
“It’s one of those baseball things you probably can’t figure out,” manager Mike Redmond said after his team improved to 8-0 against the AL this season. “I’m sure there’s probably somebody a lot smarter than me that can figure it out, but we just go out there and try to win a ball game.”
As it tries to make history, Miami will also attempt to solve Darvish (6-2, 2.36 ERA). He’s 5-1 with a 2.20 ERA and 58 strikeouts in his last six outings, spanning 45 innings, but labored Friday against Cleveland.
Darvish gave up a season high-tying four runs and nine hits – his most allowed in 43 starts – in seven innings. The right-hander, though, earned a 6-4 victory after Michael Choice’s go-ahead homer in the seventh.
Darvish had 1.14 ERA in his previous four outings and matched a season high with 12 strikeouts in a 2-0 win in Washington on June 1. He is 3-1 with a 0.31 ERA in his last four interleague starts and a 1.55 ERA in seven overall.
“We’ll have our work cut out for us,” Redmond told the team’s website. “He just has that ability to make guys miss. He throws some offspeed pitches that just seem to float out of the zone. He’s been pretty productive. He’s one of the best in this game. We’ll definitely have a challenge out there.”
Darvish is facing the contending Marlins, who have won six of eight overall and nine of 13 on the road, for the first time. Miami trails Atlanta and Washington by one-half game in the NL East.
The Marlins will likely need a better outing from Jacob Turner (2-3, 5.93) if they want to gain sole possession of first place for the first time since May 8. The right-hander has allowed five runs in back-to-back starts and given up four or more in six of eight this season.
Turner, however, got enough support for an 11-6 victory against Tampa Bay on Thursday. He was 0-11 with a 4.09 ERA in his previous 18 road starts and 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA in his first three this season.
Turner is making his first start against Texas (31-34). He had no record and a 2.25 ERA in three interleague starts before beating the Rays.
Texas has dropped 16 of 22 at home, posting a 5.73 ERA in those games – well above its already AL-worst 4.60 overall. The Rangers are playing without first basemen Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder, but Rougned Odor returned from a sprained right shoulder Tuesday, going 2 for 4 with an RBI single.
Odor, though, also committed an error that led to Yelich’s go-ahead single, one of three for Texas.
The Rangers haven’t dropped five in a row overall since a season-high, seven-game skid Sept. 9-16.