Amid a rough stretch of almost three weeks, the Miami Marlins will take anything positive to build on.
After beating one of the majors’ top pitchers, they’ll try to win back-to-back road games for the first time in more than a month Saturday against the New York Mets.
Justin Bour hit a three-run homer off Matt Harvey to help Miami (19-30) snap a three-game skid and give manager Dan Jennings his first road victory, 4-3 on Friday. The Marlins, 3-8 since the former general manager replaced the fired Mike Redmond, won for the fourth time in 18 contests but can win two straight on the road for the first time since April 22-23.
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"It was a nice win," Jennings said. "Hopefully we can build momentum and move forward."
Miami was held to six hits and fanned 12 times, but prevailed by scoring one fewer run than it totaled while being swept in a three-game set at Pittsburgh this week.
Batting .361 in 28 games, Bour has hit half of his four homers in the last two contests. The first baseman, who played his first 39 career games in 2014, also broke up a no-hit bid by Atlanta’s Shelby Miller with two outs in the ninth May 17.
"He gets up there, he’s not afraid of anybody," Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos said about Bour, who is 6 for 16 in 12 games against the Mets. "He goes up there and shows it."
Bronx native Tom Koehler (3-3, 3.44 ERA) hopes to fare better in Queens than he did April 19 when he allowed seven runs over 3 1-3 innings of a 7-6 loss.
Though the right-hander is 0-2 with a 5.46 ERA in five starts at Citi Field, he’s overcome 10 walks in 19 innings to allow two earned runs while going 1-0 in his last three starts. That stretch was interrupted by a brief move to the bullpen where he made one appearance, but has since worked his way back into the rotation.
"That move to the bullpen, he knew it was best for the team, and he did it," Jennings said. "Now, he’s back in the rotation and he’s leaving it out on the mound."
Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda are a combined 3 for 31 against Koehler, but both homered Friday as New York (27-22) failed to win a fourth straight contest. Duda is batting .412 with six home runs and 11 RBIs in the last 10 at home.
Teammate Jonathon Niese (3-5, 4.08) went 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in his first six starts but has a 9.00 ERA while losing three in a row.
"The crazy thing is this is the best I’ve felt in a real long time," the left-hander told MLB’s official website after he allowed four runs, seven hits and walked four over 4 2-3 innings of Sunday’s 9-1 loss to the Pirates.
"The results aren’t there. I’ve just got to stick with the game plan, prepare the right way and I think it’ll turn around for us."
Though Niese allowed six runs and 10 hits in six innings during an 8-6 win over the Marlins on Sept. 2, he’s 4-0 with a 3.65 ERA in his last seven starts against them.
Giancarlo Stanton is batting .407 with three homers in 27 at-bats against Niese, but is 3 for 21 with nine strikeouts in the last six contests.