Marlins' bats connect behind Turner's complete game
Stanton homers to back Miami's first nine-inning start this season
MIAMI -- The Marlins are improving, and Jacob Turner is making impressive strides.
Given early run support, and backed by a Giancarlo Stanton home run, Turner cruised to his first career complete game as the Marlins defeated the Padres, 7-1, on Saturday night at Marlins Park.
Turner also became the first Marlin to go the distance this season. Turner's previous innings high was 7 2/3 on Oct. 2 in a no-decision against the Mets.
In six starts since being called up from Triple-A New Orleans, Turner breezed to 2-0, and he lowered his ERA to 1.76.
"I like to think it was just like any other game, but obviously, it was nice to pitch the whole game," the 22-year-old said. "At the same time, you have to go out there for your next start, throw strikes and let your defense do the work for you."
Acquired last July from the Tigers as part of the Omar Infante, Anibal Sanchez trade, Turner was in complete command and finished with 111 pitches, 77 for strikes.
"The team played well today, though," he said. "We scored seven runs. That makes it a whole lot easier to pitch behind. The defense was great, and the offense was great. When you have that, it makes it a little bit easier to be on the mound."
Everything was going smoothly for Turner until he had some rocky moments in the ninth. He entered the inning with 90 pitches, but he walked Carlos Quentin to open the inning. When he struck out Kyle Blanks to make it two outs, it was his seventh strikeout of the night.
Turner's complete game was the first by a Marlin since Ricky Nolasco on Sept. 9, 2012, at Washington.
"You can watch all the video you want, you can see the delivery, but once you get in that box and see the stuff, that's when it comes to life," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He threw a good game, but any time a team faces a guy for the first time, if the guy pitches well and hits his spots, the advantage usually goes to the pitcher."
The game ended when Will Venable bounced to first base. Ed Lucas flipped to Turner covering the bag for the final out.
Low-keyed, Turner showed some rare emotion and told manager Mike Redmond: "That's how you do it!"
"I laughed," Redmond said. "I wasn't expecting that out of him, but I loved it. He's quiet. I thought it was great."
Miami bounced back from a 9-2 loss Friday and improved to 14-10 in June. The 14 wins match the team's total from April and May combined, when the Marlins went 14-41.
"I was excited," Turner said. "I definitely wanted to finish the game. Unfortunately, I walked that guy in the ninth, but I was glad that he let me stay out there. I was just excited. It's exciting."
Had Venable reached, Turner's complete game bid would have ended.
"That was his last hitter," Redmond said. "We didn't want him to go out there and grind. I wanted to keep him right around where he was."
Turner realized he was just about at his pitch limit.
"Once I walked the first guy, I knew if somebody else got on, I was probably done," the right-hander said. "You try not to think about it, but at the same time, it's going to be there. I probably didn't have my best command of the night in the ninth inning, but I was able to get through it."
Punctuating a strong offensive performance Saturday was Stanton's solo home run in the seventh inning, which extended the slugger's hitting streak at Marlins Park to 10 games. The 23-year-old has also driven in at least one run in six straight games against San Diego.
"Stanton hits the big home run, just to cap it off," Redmond said. "A lot of great at-bats."
The Marlins jumped on Padres left-hander Eric Stults for six runs (five earned) in 3 2/3 innings.
Limited to three runs total in their first four games against the Padres, the Marlins on Saturday matched that total in the first inning alone.
Justin Ruggiano and Lucas opened the inning with singles off Stults. With one out, Marcell Ozuna ripped a single to center. Ruggiano scored easily, but when the ball skipped past center fielder Alexi Amarista for an error, Lucas also scored, and Ozuna advanced to third.
The play was ruled a single, RBI and two-base error on Amarista. Ozuna scored on Placido Polanco's sacrifice fly in a play Venable made at the right-field line.
The Marlins tacked on three more runs in the fourth, including Adeiny Hechavarria's single that scored Polanco, who had walked. It was the 1,000th run of Polanco's career, making him the 22nd active player to reach the milestone.
Jeff Mathis added a two-run single in the inning.
The Padres got on the board in the fifth. Venable tripled and scored on Nick Hundley's double.
It was the only serious threat Turner had all night.
From the first inning, Redmond could see the Marlins were energized to rebound from Friday's loss.
"It was just a different day," Redmond said. "The energy, I could tell from the first inning guys were more energized; they were fired up and ready to go. To get three runs in the first was huge. We kept battling, and we added on some runs."