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Smith pitches, hits as Marlins blank Padres

June 8, 2018

MIAMI -- Caleb Smith doesn't get a lot of run support. He's used to it. But the Marlins' Friday starter didn't need a whole lot in a 4-0 win over the Padres, a victory that successfully kicked off the club's 25th Anniversary Weekend.Only twice this year has Smith been the

MIAMI -- Caleb Smith doesn't get a lot of run support. He's used to it. But the Marlins' Friday starter didn't need a whole lot in a 4-0 win over the Padres, a victory that successfully kicked off the club's 25th Anniversary Weekend.
Only twice this year has Smith been the beneficiary of more than three runs in any one game. The Marlins averaged right at three runs of support for the left-hander, second-lowest among National League starters with a minimum of 11 games. Three runs is what he got on Friday as well.
"I don't worry about how many runs I get, I pitch like it's 0-0," said Smith, who improved to 5-6 for the season.
Even the usually reliable Brian Anderson, who was hitting over .400 with runners in scoring position, struck out with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Of course, that was after Anderson had already recorded his 21st multi-hit game of the season. The Marlins' right fielder belted a first-inning double and added singles in the third and sixth innings. He had both of Miami's hits off Padres lefty starter Eric Lauer (2-4) until the fourth inning.
That's when Smith took matters into his own hands, with a run-producing single in a two-run inning that broke a scoreless game. The Padres intentionally walked Yadiel Rivera to get to Smith, who made them pay by dumping a single into right field, scoring Cameron Maybin.
It was his first Major League hit, and first RBI, all in one swing.
"I'm seeing the ball fairly well," Smith said of his hitting prowess. "This is the first time I've hit since 2010. So it just takes time. It felt good to help the team out."
Justin Bour scored the first run of the the game after leading off the fourth with a walk. He moved to third on Maybin's double, and scored on a towering sacrifice fly off the bat of Lewis Brinson.

Smith had an opportunity to add on an inning later. He batted with the bases loaded and two outs after Rivera worked a bases-loaded walk to increase the Marlins' lead to 3-0, but could not do further damage. Smith grounded out sharply to second base.

He ran out of gas in the sixth inning, loading the bases with just one out, giving way to Brad Ziegler. The closer, turned middle-inning reliever, needed just one pitch to end the inning on a 1-2-3 double play.
"We've made a little mechanical adjustment, try to free up my arms a little bit more since my back's been tight for a year and a half now," said Ziegler. "Small sample size, I think it's working pretty well. Most of the balls hit on me are on the ground, even when I give up some hits. So, that's the ones I've got to live with."

In his new role, Ziegler said he is learning how to get warm faster in the bullpen and trying not to get over anxious.
"Learning how to control myself again to where I don't get breathing heavy trying to warm up fast and still be under control, so that when I throw that first pitch, it's where I want it to be," he added. "In a situation like tonight, there's no room for error."
Smith worked 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball, scattering four hits. He struck out five and walked two. It was his third start this season with zero runs allowed. He has given up three or fewer runs in 10 of his 13 starts this season, and two or fewer runs in seven of his last nine.

"I was pounding the strike zone early," Smith said. "The offspeed was working pretty well for me, kept them off balance. I think Ziegler deserves the win tonight. He came in and saved me."
Ziegler threw 1 2/3 innings and was followed by Drew Steckenrider and Kyle Barraclough, with an inning apiece on the mound, to preserve the shutout. The trio combined to retire 11 of the 13 batters they faced.

• Anderson went 3-for-5, extending his hitting streak against the Padres to five games, while posting his fourth multi-hit game in the last six contests.
• Smith struck out Padres catcher A.J. Ellis in the fifth inning. It was his fifth strikeout of the game, and 79th of the season, tying Dontrelle Willis (2003) for most strikeouts by a Marlins rookie left-handed pitcher before the All-Star break. Only the late Jose Fernandez has more (103 in 2013).
"We don't lose in pinstripes. These are good-looking uniforms. The guys really like them." -- Marlins manager Don Mattingly, on wearing pinstripes for the first time since his playing days with the Yankees
The Marlins continue their 25th Anniversary Weekend celebration with a 4:10 p.m. ET Saturday game against the Padres. The Marlins will be tasked with slowing down Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, who has won three of his last four outings. San Diego has won each of his last five starts. Miami counters with right-hander Dan Straily, who was tagged with the loss on May 29 at Petco Park.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to based in Miami.