PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tom Koehler has watched his teammates play good baseball for the last month, and he was happy to finally help out.
Koehler pitched eight strong innings, Ichiro Suzuki moved within four hits of reaching 3,000 for his career and the Miami Marlins pounded out 16 hits in a 9-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.
Koehler (7-8) rebounded from a month-long slump with arguably his best outing of the season. He gave up two hits and only one of his three runs allowed was earned while striking out five and walking one while tying his career-high for innings. The right-hander had been 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in his last five outings and hadn’t gone more than five innings in any of his previous four starts.
"Step in the right direction," Koehler said. "We’re playing great baseball and I’m happy I’m able to contribute. I was trying to get back to what makes me who I am. I needed to pitch better than I have been and I did that tonight."
Christian Yelich homered for the Marlins, who won three of four over the Phillies to cap a seven-game road trip 5-2. Miami moved 1 games ahead of the idle Mets for the second wild-card spot in the National League. The Marlins return home for an important 10-game series that begins on Friday night against the Mets.
Ryan Howard and Freddy Galvis homered for Philadelphia, which has dropped four of five.
The Marlins gave Koehler a big lead in the fourth.
Miami battered Jerad Eickhoff (6-11) for four runs on four hits — all extra-base — to take a 4-0 lead.
Yelich led off with an opposite-field shot, tying his career-high with his ninth homer of the season. RBI doubles by Chris Johnson and Adeiny Hechavarria and Jeff Mathis’ groundout also plated runs in the frame.
"Just put good swings on good pitches to hit and good things happen," Yelich said.
The Phillies got a pair of runs back in the bottom of the frame on Howard’s two-out homer that broke up Koehler’s no-hit bid. The opposite-field shot gave Howard 14 for the season and 371 for his career, moving him out of a tie with Gil Hodges for 77th all-time.
The Marlins got those runs back in the top of the fifth. Singles by Martin Prado and Yelich to start the frame put runners on first and third. Prado scored on Eickhoff’s wild pitch and Yelich reached when shortstop Freddy Galvis threw the ball away trying to get Yelich out at third on Derek Dietrich’s infield single.
Eickhoff had one of his worst outings of the season, matching season-worsts for innings pitch and hits allowed. He gave up six runs – five earned – on nine hits in five innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
"The funny thing is I thought I executed a lot of good pitches," Eickhoff said. "There’s a couple times I got behind and had to make a pitch over the plate a little more and that kind of hurt me. They did some good damage to those pitches."
Miami added three runs on five hits in the eighth off Daniel Stumpf. Marcell Ozuna had a two-run single and Koehler recorded his second RBI of the season with a single. Koehler is batting .097 with three hits in 31 at-bats.
SUZUKI CLOSE TO 3K
Suzuki hit an infield single in the third and a solid single to right-center in the eighth to bring his major-league total to 2,996. He is vying to become the 30th player all-time to reach 3,000 hits.
"It’s been fun," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He’s a great guy to watch."
The 42-year-old Suzuki joked that he had plenty of time to reach the milestone.
"Donny (Mattingly) said I was going to play for seven more years," Suzuki said through an interpreter. "I should be able to get four more (hits) in seven years."
STARTERS’ STREAK SNAPPED
Eickhoff’s outing halted Philadelphia’s starting pitchers’ streak of seven straight games with at least six innings. The last time Phillies starters had a streak as long was May 2014.
YELICH LIKES PHILY
Yelich is batting .366 (34-for-93) in 22 career games at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies: OF Aaron Altherr had his rehab assignment moved to Double-A Reading on Thursday. Altherr has been out all year after injuring his wrist in spring training.
Marlins: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (6-5, 3.61) faces Mets RHP Logan Verrett (3-6, 4.21) to start a three-game series on Friday night in Miami.
Phillies: RHP Zack Eflin (2-3, 4.14) takes the hill for Philadelphia to open a 10-game road trip against Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.11) on Friday night.