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Yamamoto struggles as Marlins allow 6 HRs

@JoeFrisaro
August 13, 2019

MIAMI -- Jordan Yamamoto is learning the hard way that Major League Baseball has more than its share of peaks and valleys. Facing the high-powered Dodgers on Tuesday night, Yamamoto battled his way through five innings, allowing two homers and four runs. But the game got out of hand late,

MIAMI -- Jordan Yamamoto is learning the hard way that Major League Baseball has more than its share of peaks and valleys.

Facing the high-powered Dodgers on Tuesday night, Yamamoto battled his way through five innings, allowing two homers and four runs. But the game got out of hand late, and the Marlins lost 15-1 in the series opener at Marlins Park.

Box score

In terms of his overall development, Yamamoto is going through a rough patch. In his last five starts, the right-hander is 0-4 with an 8.28 ERA. He has been hurt by the long ball, allowing eight in that five-game stretch.

“It's always a learning experience, from losing,” Yamamoto said after making his 11th big league start. “It [stinks] to lose. But at the same time, you still learn a lot about yourself and your team in those hard times.”

The downslide began on July 21, against none other than Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. That day, the rookie allowed five runs in four innings, including two of the Dodgers' three home runs.

“The Dodgers are a great lineup,” Yamamoto said. “Everybody knows that. But at the end of the day, it's kind of a good test for all of us pitchers here and the whole team, just in general. At the end of the day, they're a playoff team. We're trying to get to that point where people look at us and are like, 'They're a playoff team.'”

As part of a young rotation, Yamamoto projects as a back-end starter. And his slide comes against some tough competition. He’s faced the Dodgers twice, along with Arizona, Minnesota and the Mets. Of those five starts, the Marlins won just one -- in extra innings against the Twins on Aug. 1.

“Yamamoto, I think this kid has got some good stuff,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He can pitch, but we got to him. Credit to our guys."

Yamamoto’s Major League career started off with four straight winning decisions, making him the third starting pitcher in franchise history to begin his career with at least four consecutive victories. He joined Livan Hernandez (9-0 in 1997) and Anibal Sanchez (4-0 in 2006).

“I think Jordan actually was OK,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I feel like, actually, his last three have been good. He was aggressive.”

The Dodgers’ homer onslaught on Tuesday magnified the importance of executing pitches. In that regard, Yamamoto was able to keep the score respectable at 4-1.

The Dodgers hammered out six home runs, with Will Smith having a two-homer night. Los Angeles connected on back-to-back homers twice. Corey Seager and Smith did it off Yamamoto in the fourth inning.

Los Angeles exploded for 11 runs from the sixth inning on against Miami’s bullpen. At one point in the ninth inning, the Dodgers put seven straight runners on base with two outs, and scored four times. In that inning, home plate umpire Chad Fairchild was replaced after taking a foul ball off the mask.

During the delay, Mattingly replaced left-hander Jarlin Garcia with catcher Bryan Holaday, who pitched for the first time this season, and has done so four times in his career.

“It doesn't take long to warm up 63 [mph],” said Holaday, who got Russell Martin to ground into a forceout on a 63.4 mph pitch. “I'm always staying active when I'm not playing, getting loose and preparing myself for whatever situation may come. Unfortunately, today it was on the mound. But yeah, it's always fun when you can get out there and do that."

The real damage came after Yamamoto exited with 99 pitches. Smith’s second homer came off Wei-Yin Chen in the sixth inning. In the seventh, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger went back to back off Chen during a four-run frame. Matt Beaty went deep off Austin Brice in the eighth inning.

The 15 runs are a season high allowed by Miami. The six home runs by the Dodgers are the most by a team at Marlins Park, which opened in 2012. Five was the previous high, by the Rockies on June 20, 2016.

“It happens to every team, every year,” Mattingly said of blowout losses. “It's going to happen in some way, shape or form. Any time it happens, it never feels good. It is one game. You try to preserve your [reliever] assets the best that you can.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.