MIAMI (AP) — With catcher Jonathan Lucroy out with a mild concussion, Nevin Ashley took advantage of the opportunity.
Ashley registered his first major league hit — an RBI double — in a losing effort as the Miami Marlins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 on Wednesday night.
“It would have been a little sweeter had we put the ‘W’ up,” Ashley said.
Ashley’s double in the second inning off Tom Koehler gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead.
“My phone’s blowing up right now, friends and family,” Ashley said. “I’m just happy to be up here and contribute. I got a pitch to hit. First pitch breaking ball. He had a great breaking ball. He had it working tonight. Missed with the fastball away so I was ready for the fastball and he left it out over the plate. I didn’t miss it.”
Koehler (9-13) tied career-highs with 10 strikeouts over eight innings and Christian Yelich had a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning for the Marlins.
“(Koehler) was just filling up the strike zone all night,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “He was in attack mode. The breaking ball was tremendous, slider was solid, and he made quality pitch after pitch.”
Koehler won for the first time since July 23, at San Diego, ending a seven-game losing streak.
“I’d be lying if I said if it hasn’t felt like a long time,” Koehler said. “It’s felt like two seasons.”
Koehler allowed two runs, four hits, none after the third inning, and two walks.
“He got his curveball going around the third inning,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He was able to throw some sliders off of that. He could go to his curveball whenever he wanted and throw a quality pitch. It kept us off balance. He was really efficient after the first two innings.”
He threw 68 of his 104 pitches for strikes before turning it over to A.J. Ramos, who pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 31 chances.
“At that point 15 pitches wouldn’t have made or break me at this point in the year, but I understand the move,” Koehler said of being lifted with one inning to play. “Getting the win and winning the series is the most important thing and bringing A.J. in right there to get the save is how you want to try to line them up.”
Martin Prado drove in the other three runs for the Marlins with a two-run single in the third and an RBI double later in the seventh that scored Yelich.
“You can’t say enough what Martin Prado has meant to this ballclub, what he’s doing, the way he’s playing, and for him to step up like that — a three-RBI night, huge,” Jennings said.
Ariel Pena of the Brewers was effective in his first major league start, pitching five innings and allowing two runs, three hits and four walks. He struck out four.
“I felt a little emotional which you expect as something normal,” Pena said. “I just concentrated on the signs and made my pitches. I was consistent in the zone and concentrated on each hitter.”
Tyler Cravy (0-6) walked Miguel Rojas with one out in the seventh. Koehler, with 89 pitches to his credit, stayed in to hit and laid down a successful sacrifice bunt with two strikes.
Will Smith relieved Cravy and walked Dee Gordon before Yelich lined a double to left-center that drove in Rojas and Gordon for a 4-2 lead.
“(Koehler) kept us in it the whole game really and it was nice to push a couple across to get him the win,” Yelich said.
Prado followed with a double that scored Yelich and pushed the lead to 5-2.
Milwaukee’s Scooter Gennett led off the game with a base hit and scored on a double play.
Prado’s two-run single in the third tied the game 2-2.
Koehler was particularly sharp over the middle innings retiring 11 consecutive batters at one point including striking out the side in the fifth.
“He gave up two runs early and then got in a tremendous rhythm,” Jennings said.
Brewers: Lucroy suffered a mild concussion in Tuesday’s game against the Marlins after taking a foul ball off his mask. Lucroy is currently being evaluated by doctors as part of the concussion protocol. He has to be cleared by the doctors before he can return to the lineup. “Most likely a couple of days,” Counsell said. “It could be a day, but most likely a couple of days.”
Marlins: RHP Jose Fernandez (biceps strain) threw a bullpen session Wednesday and is on track to start Saturday against Washington, his first since Aug. 7. “He threw the ball very well getting in line for Saturday so it looks like all systems are go there,” Jennings said. “He’ll be ready to toe the rubber and pitch against the Nationals.” … SS Adeiny Hechavarria (hamstring) has missed the last six games.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (5-8, 4.21 ERA) will get the nod Thursday to begin a four-game set at Pittsburgh. RHP A.J. Burnett (8-5, 3.06) will oppose Peralta.
Marlins: The team is off Thursday and will begin a three-game series at home against Washington on Friday with RHP Jarred Cosart (1-4, 5.04) on the mound to face LHP Gio Gonzalez (10-7, 3.96).
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)