Jennings’ moves pay off and Marlins beat Orioles 5-2
MIAMI (AP) — Two innings in a row, new Miami Marlins manager Dan Jennings went to the mound to switch pitchers. Each time, the new reliever escaped a jam to help close out a 5-2 victory Sunday against Baltimore.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter wasn’t impressed by the moves.
“They used what, three guys three days in a row out of the bullpen to get it done?” Showalter said. “We’ll see how that works down the road.”
Jennings’ acumen is under a microscope because the first-time manager made the unusual transition Monday from his old job as general manager to the dugout. He called on relievers Bryan Morris and A.J. Ramos for the third game in a row, and Sam Dyson pitched for the fourth consecutive day, helping Miami win a series for the first time since May 3.
Jennings improved to 2-5.
“Wins are like doughnuts,” he said. “You like them so much you want to keep eating them.”
The Marlins earned their second consecutive win after losing eight straight and finished 2-8 on their homestand, which included the managerial change.
“It has been an interesting week for everybody,” said Tom Koehler (3-3), who pitched 6 1-3 innings. “Hopefully it’s one of those things we’ll look back at at the end of the year and be able to pinpoint that this was the homestand where we hit rock bottom, and we were able to turn it around.”
Baltimore left-hander Brian Matusz pitched two scoreless innings, a day after he was ejected for having a sticky substance on his non-throwing arm. The Orioles await a decision from Major League Baseball regarding further punishment.
The Orioles went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position and didn’t hit a homer in the series against the Marlins, who are last in the NL East.
“They are a good team,” Showalter said. “Everyone knows they are capable of better.”
The Orioles fell to 2-13 all-time in Miami, where they were making their first visit since 2009.
Baltimore loaded the bases in the seventh and eighth but came away with only one run. Ramos pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in four chances, completing a six-hitter and lowering his ERA to 0.78.
The Orioles’ Miguel Gonzalez (5-3) allowed five runs and a career-high 10 hits in four-plus innings. The final run came on a homer by Martin Prado, who fouled off five 3-2 pitches before connecting on the 12th pitch.
“You’re trying to make a perfect pitch with a 3-2 count,” Gonzalez said. “I tried to go in, but it was middle in. That’s really his happy zone. I just missed my spot. You tip your hat.”
Said Jennings: “Maybe the best at-bat we’ve seen all year.”
Marcell Ozuna had three hits for the Marlins, including a two-run single. Miami had totaled just 23 runs in the first nine games of their homestand.
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton didn’t shake his slump. He went 0 for 3 and batted .154 (6 for 39) on the homestand.
The Orioles ended a streak of 19 consecutive scoreless innings in the sixth when Jimmy Paredes’ sacrifice fly made it 5-1.
They loaded the bases with one out in the seventh to force Koehler from the game, but Brad Hand got pinch hitter Steve Pearce to hit into a double play.
Ryan Lavarnway grounded out with the bases loaded against Dyson to end the eighth.
“Offensively, it has been a challenge for us here,” Showalter said. “The first thing you do is tip your hat to their pitching.”
Paredes, who came into the game leading the AL in hitting at .352, went 0 for 3 and was robbed of a hit by second baseman Dee Gordon.
NL batting leader Gordon went 1 for 4, dropping his average to .376.
Showalter chose to walk Gordon to load the bases with two out in the fourth, and Ozuna made the strategy backfire by hitting a two-run single.
Marlins C Jeff Mathis (hand) was placed on a rehab assignment at Triple-A New Orleans and might be about a week from rejoining the Marlins, Jennings said.
Orioles: Return home to open a three-game series against Houston on Monday, when LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-3, 2.90) starts against LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-0, 1.67).
Marlins: Hit the road for a week and start a three-game set at Pittsburgh on Monday, when RHP David Phelps (2-1, 3.21) starts against RHP Charlie Morton, making his 2015 debut.