Marlins sweep two-game series with 5-3 win over Twins
MIAMI (AP) — A rare power surge from a pair of veterans lifted the Miami Marlins to their latest victory.
Placido Polanco homered for the first time in more than a year and Jeff Mathis hit his first since last August, helping the Marlins overcome a three-run deficit in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
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“That just shows you when you start playing better and guys continue to gain confidence, you have a lot of different contributors,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “We saw that today out of a couple of guys who’ve been kind of quiet.”
Miami is 13-9 this month and is ensured of a winning record in June following a 14-41 start. Still, the Marlins’ 27-50 record is the poorest in the major leagues.
“Right now, guys are playing with a lot of confidence and having fun,” said Marlins starter Tom Koehler, who allowed three runs in four innings.
With the Marlins trailing 3-0, Mathis hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Scott Diamond (5-7). Just 5 for 52 (.096) this season entering the at-bat, Mathis had not homered since Aug. 24 for Toronto against Baltimore’s Matt Lindstrom.
“I knew he was throwing a lot of fastballs and he was around the zone,” Mathis said. “I was just trying to get a pitch up and put a good swing on it.”
Kevin Slowey (3-6), who pitched three scoreless innings, singled and scored the tying run on Giancarlo Stanton’s groundout. Slowey earned the win in his first appearance against his former team where he played from 2007-11.
Logan Morrison’s leadoff single in the sixth chased Diamond, and Polanco sent a 354-foot drive off Ryan Pressly just over the left-field wall. He had gone 350 consecutive at-bats without a home run since hitting one off Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on June 4 last year.
“That is one of the most professional hitters you’ll see,” Twins manager Rod Gardenhire said of Polanco. “We’ve faced him a lot of different years with a lot of different teams and he’s always been a good contact guy. He puts the bat on the ball. As you saw he can drive one too. He’s good in those situations.”
Pressly, who made his major league debut this year, had not allowed a home run in his previous 23 big league games.
Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek followed Slowey with an inning each of perfect relief. Cishek retired the Twins in order in the ninth for the second straight game and earned his 14th save in 16 chances.
Joe Mauer had three hits for Minnesota, which has lost four of five.
Minnesota took a 3-0 lead in the first off Koehler when Mauer and Josh Willingham hit consecutive run-scoring singles and Oswaldo Arcia followed with an RBI groundout.
“You jump out like that with three runs quick and you think, `Oh here we go’ and nothing happened after that,” Gardenhire said. “We couldn’t put them away. We had men out there. We needed another big hit early to put them away at least open the lead up and maybe have one of those kind of games, but to their credit, they kept battling back.”
Diamond gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings. He said he needed to do better and pitch deeper into the game.
“It’s not helping anybody. It’s not helping my team, it’s not helping the defense, and I’m getting sick of it,” he said.
NOTES: Miami has allowed three runs or fewer in 10 consecutive games, going 7-3. … Diamond’s single in the sixth was only the second in 33 at-bats for Minnesota pitchers in the last two seasons. … Mauer has a .429 (12 for 28) average against the Marlins. … Marlins top prospect OF Christian Yelich will play for Team USA in the 2013 All-Star Futures Game. Minnesota prospects OF Byron Buxton (Team USA) and 3B Miguel Sano (World Team) have also been selected to play in the game. … Minnesota will return home for a four-game series against Kansas City beginning on Thursday and will send RHP Samuel Deduno (3-2, 3.72 ERA) to the mound against RHP Jeremy Guthrie (7-5, 4.20 ERA). Miami has a day off before a four-game series against San Diego. RHP Ricky Nolasco (4-7, 3.68 ERA) is Friday’s scheduled starter.