MILWAUKEE (AP) — Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly wanted Adam Conley to be the difference maker and the left-hander delivered.
Derek Dietrich hit a two-run homer, Conley pitched into the sixth inning and the Marlins beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-4 on Saturday night to stop a six-game slide.
Milwaukee dropped four games back of NL Central-leading Chicago. The Brewers had won three straight and six of seven.
“Tonight, the tone was set by Adam,” Mattingly said. “We talked about it yesterday. We talked this thing up like it’s the playoffs for us. The momentum starts with the starter.”
Conley (7-7) allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings in the second game of a series relocated from Miami to Milwaukee because of the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
“He gave up a run in the first, but once we got some runs back, he was able to set the tone for a while,” Mattingly said. “He worked quick, he was throwing strikes and got quick outs. He set the tone.”
It was Conley’s first win since Aug. 20 against the New York Mets, a span of four starts.
Conley spotted something watching videos of himself pitching.
“I was a lot more like myself which is something I’ve been searching for all year,” he said. “I noticed something different that I was doing last year that felt a lot more athletic, more powerful, that we had just been missing. It was something I took a shot out there and tried. It felt really good. I thought I improved a lot.”
Conley allowed a run in the first, but then nothing more until the sixth. He walked three and struck out six.
Junichi Tazawa, Brian Ellington and Drew Steckenrider combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief before Kyle Barraclough got into trouble in the ninth. Ryan Braun doubled in Domingo Santana, but Travis Shaw flied out to end the game.
“We had some opportunities. We had runners on, just the next hit was missing,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Milwaukee jumped in front on Shaw’s run-scoring grounder in the first, but Miami responded with four runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna hit consecutive run-scoring singles before Justin Bour delivered a sacrifice fly. Miguel Rojas capped the fast start with another RBI single against Zach Davies (17-9).
“It was a tough first inning,” Davies said. “I thought I had them make some weak contact, but found holes. And, that’s baseball.”
The Marlins added two more in the third on Dietrich’s career-high 12th homer, a drive that hit the right-field foul pole.
Davies allowed eight hits, struck out two and walked none. He remained tied for the most wins in the majors with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
Milwaukee rallied in the sixth, but lost out on a chance for more. Braun and Shaw began the inning with consecutive homers.
Conley departed after Keon Broxton walked with two out. The Brewers loaded the bases against Tazawa, but Hernan Perez flied out to end the inning.
“We’re running out of time,” Shaw said. “I think everybody knows that. We check the scoreboard when we lose and see that the other teams have won. It just makes it harder. There’s not much time left.”
Conley ended a four-start winless streak during which he was 0-2 with a 6.30 ERA. The Marlins snapped their longest losing streak since dropping six in a row in August 2015.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-2, 3.14 ERA) makes his sixth career start and first against the Marlins in the series finale.
Marlins: LHP Dillon Peters (0-1, 2.50 ERA) makes his fourth career start and first against the Brewers.