LOS ANGELES (AP) — Poor starting pitching. Bullpen breakdowns. Defensive mistakes. The Marlins have found plenty of ways to lose, quickly piling up 17 losses to start the season.
Now the young team has a chance to win its first series — against the defending NL champions, no less.
Cameron Maybin doubled home the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and Miami edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Tuesday night, snapping its season-high five-game skid.
Brian Anderson singled leading off the inning against Pedro Baez (1-1) and scored on Maybin’s double to deep left field. Miami had lost eight of its previous nine and 11 of 13, including a 2-1 decision in the series opener Monday.
“Hopefully, we can start to put some momentum together and then you can start to feel like you’re going to win these games,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s the difference between good teams and teams that aren’t at that caliber. They feel like they’re going to win these games.”
Drew Steckenrider (1-0) got the win with one inning of relief. Brad Ziegler retired the side in the ninth for his second save.
Maybin was back at Dodger Stadium, where he celebrated winning the World Series in Game 7 last year with the Houston Astros. In a matter of months, the 31-year-old outfielder has gone from the sublime to the somewhat ridiculous with Miami’s losing streak.
“I always try to take a positive out of a negative,” Maybin said. “A positive is we feel like we’ve been in every game this year except for two ballgames. For a young team, it’s about, how do you finish? Being in the game is the first step and we were in every game.”
The loss ended the Dodgers’ three-game winning streak and sent them back to .500 one game after they had moved above the mark for the first time this season.
“We had our chances,” catcher Austin Barnes said. “It’s a game we’ve got to win.”
Starlin Castro‘s two-out RBI double off Tony Cingrani tied the game 2-all in the eighth. Cingrani gave up a one-out single to Derek Dietrich, who went to second on Cingrani’s balk.
“It’s not a balk, but he called it a balk, so it’s a balk,” Cingrani said. “I think everything should be reviewed.”
Pinch-hitter Chase Utley drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run in the seventh, putting the Dodgers back in front 2-1.
After getting two outs, Nick Wittgren gave up a walk to pinch-hitter Joc Pederson, a single to Chris Taylor and a walk to Corey Seager that loaded the bases. Utley worked Tayron Guerrero to a 3-2 count before Miami’s third free pass of the inning.
J.T. Realmuto homered on the first pitch from Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda with two outs in the third to tie the game 1-all.
The Dodgers led 1-0 in the second on Barnes’ RBI double down the right-field line that eluded diving first baseman Justin Bour and scored Matt Kemp, who had a leadoff double.
Marlins starter Dillon Peters allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked two.
Maeda gave up one run and four hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked one.
Marlins: 3B Martin Prado (left hamstring strain) and SS JT Riddle (right shoulder tendinitis) played in rehab stints at Class A Jupiter and will do so again on Wednesday. … RHP Elieser Hernandez (tooth infection) and RHP Dan Straily (forearm) each pitched in rehab assignments and will be re-evaluated Wednesday.
Dodgers: RHP Yimi Garcia (right elbow surgery) is on a rehab assignment and could possibly return in May. The team is taking a conservative approach so Garcia will be ready to pitch the rest of the season without restrictions.
Realmuto has hit safely in all 18 career games against the Dodgers, which ties the longest hitting streak against LA to start a major league career since 1900. San Francisco’s Jim Davenport had a similar streak from April 15 to Sept 1, 1958. Realmuto has hit .391 with 10 runs, two doubles, three homers and six RBIs during his run that began on May 11, 2015.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went with Baez and not closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth. “That’s a decision that didn’t work and I take full responsibility for it,” Roberts said.
For his part, Jansen was diplomatic. “Sometimes you gamble, and it didn’t work,” he said. “We win together, we lose together.”
OFF THE BENCH
Utley continues to be stellar off the bench, getting his second pinch-hit, bases-loaded walk this season. He is 4 for 6 with three RBIs as a pinch hitter.
RHP Trevor Richards (0-2, 6.16 ERA) makes his first career start against the Dodgers and LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-3, 2.45) in the series finale. Richards gave up a career-high six runs in his last start at Milwaukee. Kershaw is 5-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 10 starts against the Marlins while averaging 10.13 strikeouts per nine innings.