Justin Bour homers and Wei-Yin Chen earns first win at Marlins Park
MIAMI (AP) — Wei-Yin Chen tied a career high with 12 strikeouts, and center fielder Marcell Ozuna threw a strike, too.
Ozuna nailed speedy Jonathan Villar at third base to end a threat in the seventh inning Wednesday night, and the Miami Marlins held on to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2.
Chen (3-1) allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings, and the Marlins were at their best on defense. Catcher Jeff Mathis twice stopped pitches in the dirt with a runner at third in the first inning, and second baseman Derek Dietrich made a glove flip for an important forceout.
"Anytime the tempo is quick like it was tonight, everybody is more in tune," Mathis said.
Chen pitched around a pair of one-out singles in the first and didn’t allow a run until the seventh, when Milwaukee chased him and scored twice. The damage could have been worse, but Ozuna threw out Villar trying to go from first to third.
"When I picked up the ball and saw him running, I threw as hard as I could," Ozuna said.
Ryan Braun was due up next, but Brewers manager Craig Counsell declined to criticize Villar for violating the unwritten rule about making the final out of an inning at third.
"It was an aggressive play," Counsell said. "Jon is going to force the action."
Would Villar do it again?
"That’s my game — do anything for the team," Villar said. "He made a perfect throw."
A.J. Ramos pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save in as many chances.
Justin Bour pulled a changeup for a two-run homer for the Marlins, who won with five hits to take the series and finish 6-3 on their homestand.
"If we can continue to win two out of three the rest of the year, we’re going to be a happy ballclub," manager Don Mattingly said.
The Brewers still haven’t won a road series and went 3-4 on their trip. Chase Anderson (1-5) retired the first 10 batters, but lost his fifth start in a row. He allowed three runs in six innings.
Bour’s homer in the fifth made the score 2-0. Ozuna then hit a double so hard, the ball lodged under the fence in the right-field corner, and he subsequently scored on Adeiny Hechavarria’s sacrifice fly.
"It was one of those games where you’ve got to scratch — a team win," Bour said.
Chen allowed six hits and two walks, and lowered his ERA to 4.40.
"My slider was working pretty well," the Taiwanese left-hander said through a translator. "And Mathis was helping me a lot with the way he called the game and the way he had me pitch to him. A lot of the 12 strikeouts is because of him."
Braun had three hits to hike his average to .380. The former University of Miami star has a career average of .442 at Marlins Park.
Braun and Ozuna have 11-game hitting streaks, longest in the majors.
Before the game, the Marlins selected the contract of RHP Dustin McGowan and designated LHP Craig Breslow for assignment. McGowan allowed one hit in 7 1/3 innings of scoreless relief at Triple-A New Orleans. The moves left the Marlins without a left-hander in the bullpen.
Brewers OF Domingo Santana (shoulder) started for the first time since May 3.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (4-2, 3.74) is scheduled to start Thursday against RHP James Shields (1-5, 3.60) when the Brewers return home to start a seven-game homestand against the Padres.
Marlins: RHP Tom Koehler (2-3, 5.83) is scheduled to start Friday when Miami begins a six-game trip at Washington.