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Elieser strong, but Marlins fall to D-backs

Hernandez posts career-high 8 K's; Anderson extends on-base streak
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- An injury opened an opportunity, and Marlins rookie right-hander Elieser Hernandez is looking to make the best of it. The 23-year-old on Tuesday established a career-high mark and showed plenty of promise in his first start in more than three weeks.

Hernandez struck out eight and was limited to four innings and 76 pitches. But he allowed two runs, and that was costly as the D-backs, behind John Ryan Murphy's three RBIs, secured a 5-3 victory over Miami at Marlins Park.

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MIAMI -- An injury opened an opportunity, and Marlins rookie right-hander Elieser Hernandez is looking to make the best of it. The 23-year-old on Tuesday established a career-high mark and showed plenty of promise in his first start in more than three weeks.

Hernandez struck out eight and was limited to four innings and 76 pitches. But he allowed two runs, and that was costly as the D-backs, behind John Ryan Murphy's three RBIs, secured a 5-3 victory over Miami at Marlins Park.

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"I think what we all really love about him is his mound presence," said Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach, who managed Tuesday as Don Mattingly served a one-game suspension. "Nothing flusters him. No matter what's happening around him, he stays focused on what he's trying to do."

Starlin Castro belted a solo home run off Zack Godley in the fifth inning, and Bryan Holaday had a run-scoring grounder to short. The Marlins threatened late, loading the bases in the eighth off Yoshihisa Hirano. But with two outs, Justin Bour lined out sharply to center.

Video: ARI@MIA: Castro clubs solo homer down the line in 5th

"We had some opportunities, and we had the right guys up," Wallach said. "We keep battling. That's what we say every day. These guys keep playing and try to win a ballgame."

The Marlins had their three-game winning streak snapped, but the game was another chance for Hernandez to gain valuable big league experience.

Hernandez made the spot start in place of Jose Urena, who is on the disabled list with right shoulder tightness. The rookie, a Rule 5 Draft pick, is getting an opportunity as either a starter or reliever. It's not a given that he will get another start in five days. But as a fill-in, Hernandez did what was asked -- keep his team in the game for four innings.

Video: ARI@MIA: Hernandez K's Godley to avoid damage in 2nd

"I felt good," Hernandez said through a translator. "I made some mistakes, but overall, I felt like I competed and gave it my best"

Tuesday was Hernandez's 12th appearance and fifth start, his first since June 1 at Arizona, where he gave up five runs in three innings. He was much more effective in his second meeting, working with a three-pitch mix. He threw 44 four-seam fastballs, 21 sliders and 11 changeups, according to Statcast™. He induced nine swinging strikes, three from each of those pitches.

Entering the night, Hernandez had just 14 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. He hadn't struck out more than three in any outing but passed that total by the second inning.

"He gets swings and misses," Wallach said. "We saw it in Spring Training. We like what we saw there, and he continues to get better. You go through some struggles here. It hasn't affected how he goes about it. He keeps coming. Doesn't start walking guys, when he gives up some hits."

The D-backs got on the board with two runs in the second inning. Hernandez put himself in a bind by grazing Jon Jay with a pitch, then Jake Lamb and David Peralta each delivered RBI doubles.

Video: ARI@MIA: Lamb lines an RBI double to open the scoring

Hernandez's day was done after a walk and three strikeouts in the fourth inning. At 76 pitches, the rookie was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning.

Off Ben Meyer, another rookie pitcher, the D-backs received a two-run double from Murphy in the fifth inning.

"I had more strikeouts today," Hernandez said, "but I don't think it was my best start."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Meyer's line ended up being three runs allowed (two earned) over four innings. To the Marlins, it was important because the four innings allowed the club to preserve the rest of the bullpen during a stretch in which it's been overused.

On Sunday, in Colorado, Caleb Smith lasted just 1 1/3 innings before exiting with a Grade 3 lat strain. The bullpen has been logging plenty of innings of late, and Meyer provided four valuable innings, while also gaining some experience.

"That was huge," Wallach said. "We had pretty much a bullpen game in Colorado, and we've had to use guys. So that was really, really big for us today. He did a good job. Kept us in the ballgame. That's all we can ask for from him."

Video: ARI@MIA: Meyer fans Jay to close out perfect frame

Meyer appeared in just his third big league game, and now has pitched seven total innings.

"I'm still kind of used to starting and going like six or seven innings [per game]," Meyer said. "I think I was still settling in a little bit and still getting used to the bullpen. But I think after that first inning, I settled down a little better."

SOUND SMART
Marlins rookie Brian Anderson extended his on-base streak to 23 games with a walk in the third inning off Godley. That broke a tie with Cincinnati's Jesse Winker for the longest streak in 2018 by a rookie. Anderson now boasts the longest active on-base streak in the National League.

Video: ARI@MIA: Anderson scores on throwing error in the 7th

HE SAID IT
"I told Holly, 'That was a bad mound visit.' He went out right before that, and he tripped." -- Wallach, on what he told Holaday, who had a mound visit with Hernandez before he stumbled for a balk

Video: ARI@MIA: Hernandez balks as he slips while in motion

UP NEXT
Wei-Yin Chen (2-4, 6.70 ERA) will try to bounce back from a rough last outing as he takes the mound Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET against the D-backs in Miami. Chen has found success at Marlins Park this season, sporting a 2.53 ERA in four home starts. The southpaw will match up against Arizona's Robbie Ray (2-0, 4.88), who will make his first start since April 29.

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

Miami Marlins, Elieser Hernandez