Marlins hoping to turn things around after second straight road win
MAY 18, 2014 9:46a ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Miami Marlins' road struggles have been well documented since the disturbing trend began in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia last month.
During their first trip, the Marlins went winless in six tries en route to eight straight losses.
Bewilderment ensued when their home-away splits continued to go in opposite ends of the spectrum -- best record at Marlins Park, worst when away from South Florida.
Right-hander Tom Koehler was no exception.
After tossing 15 straight scoreless innings during the 8-1 homestand, the Los Angeles Dodgers knocked him around over 3 2/3 innings with four walks, six hits and four runs.
Entering Saturday night's game, the 27-year-old was 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA at home -- lowest in the majors for a pitcher with at least four starts -- compared to 0-3 with a 4.15 ERA on the road.
But Koehler threw seven shutout innings as the Marlins topped the San Francisco Giants 5-0 Saturday night at AT&T Park.
Miami won its second straight road game for the first time and improved to 4-6 on its longest trip this season.
"I think we're just continuing to play good baseball," said Koehler, who struck out seven and walked two while scattering four hits. "We played pretty good baseball those road trips we struggled. It was just one pitch, one hit, one play from winning the game. I think we're starting to put together some solid games, and (Sunday) we have a chance to win the series in a tough ballpark to play in."
Manager Mike Redmond figured the club would turn things around. The young guys just needed to get more comfortable settling into their routines away from home.
Koehler, for one, went back to pounding the strike zone and keeping the ball down. Seven of his nine outings have been quality starts. He is tied with St. Louis Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright for most starts of seven-plus scoreless innings.
"He's a guy that kind of flies under the radar on our pitching staff, and that's probably fine with him," Redmond said. "He's done a great job. We know what kind of effort we're going to get out of him. He competes. He's made the most of every one of his opportunities ... I feel good when he's on the mound, and I know he's going to give us a chance."
The Marlins (23-21) took advantage of Tim Lincecum's two-out wildness for a run in the second. Both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Marcell Ozuna walked before Adeiny Hechavarria produced an RBI single to right.
They extended the lead by two in the sixth.
"I think we've proven that we've got some talent on this team, but at the same time we have also seen that's not enough in this league," said McGehee, who went 1 for 5 with a double. "We've got to do the little things right. We can't take plays, days or pitches off. I think we're definitely headed in the right direction. It's just going to be a question of whether we can be consistent."
Although McGehee was not around during the 100-loss 2013 season, he is not mistaken in his assessment.
Through 44 games in 2013, the Marlins were 12-32. They were never over .500 and never led the National League East. A year later, Miami has been in first eight days and five games over .500.
Close games haunted the young club. It went 9-18 in games decided by three runs or less compared to a 13-14 mark this year.
"It's fun to watch them go out there and compete," Redmond said. "We're a much better ballclub than we were last year. It's a resilient group that doesn't seem to faze these guys. Things pop up along the way -- a tough loss, even losing Jose (Fernandez). You keep playing, guys keep playing, keep battling, keep fighting. Somebody continues to step up, and that's what we need."
Especially on the road, which is just what Koehler did on Saturday for the Marlins.