Marlins' strong pitching wears down in 13th
Alvarez leads effort on mound, but offense hits record slump
MILWAUKEE -- The Marlins' dryspell has reached record proportions, and their losing streak is also increasing.
Silenced offensively for the third straight game, the Marlins' pitching eventually blinked in the extra innings Sunday afternoon.
Caleb Gindl delivered an opposite-field home run to left to open the 13th inning, and it was all the offense the Brewers needed to beat the Marlins, 1-0, at Miller Park.
"To see every single guy in the lineup struggle, I don't know if I've ever seen that before -- ever," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "When we left on this road trip, I was excited because, No. 1, I felt our guys would be fresh coming out of the All-Star break. And we were coming to two ballparks [Milwaukee and Colorado] where I felt guys would be excited to come out and hit.
"To get completely shut down in the best hitters' ballpark, I think, in all of baseball, it's unbelievable."
Gindl's first career home run came on Ryan Webb's second pitch of the inning, and it traveled just far enough to clear the wall near the left-field foul line.
It marked the first time in franchise history the Marlins lost by a 1-0 margin in extra innings. And it was only the second time they had been shut out in extra innings.
"It's a battle out there," said Ed Lucas, who had one of four Miami hits. "Even when we manage to scrape up a couple of guys on base, we just can't pick up that timely hit. Part of it is bad luck. Part of it is our approach. It's a bad way to start off the second half. But, regardless of whether or not we were coming off the All-Star break, it's pretty embarrassing to have a series like that where you don't put up a run."
Shut out the entire series, the Marlins established a dubious franchise record as they have now gone 37 consecutive innings without a run. The previous team mark was 30, set a year ago.
The drought is the longest in the Major Leagues since the 1985 Astros went 42 innings.
Reminded of the historical significance of the drought, Logan Morrison sarcastically said: "Nice. Well, I'm glad I could be a part of that. It [stinks], but that's what happens, I guess, sometimes when you've got young guys on the team, and you find gloves and don't really find grass. Our pitching has been doing a great job. We've got to pick them up. We'll get there. We'll be fine."
It was the second time in team history the Marlins had been blanked in three straight games.
Milwaukee's pitchers, meanwhile, extended their string of not allowing a run to 35 innings, a club record.
With both sides pitching so effectively, the outcome came down to one swing by Gindle.
"I thought it was a popup foul," Webb said. "Then I thought it was a popup fair. Then I thought it was an out, and then it was over the fence, 10 feet fair. It's not short over there. But it didn't look like it off the bat, but it kept going."
Even Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was not sure how the game would be decided.
"I really didn't think it was going to be won by a homer," Roenicke said. "I think when we get into extra innings and guys try to hit a home run to win games, I think you go a lot longer than you should. I was obviously glad to see the home run, but it's hard when you try to hit them."
After managing just four hits Sunday and 15 total in the series, the Marlins have now lost four straight and nine of 12.
Adeiny Hechavarria had two hits Sunday and six of Miami's 15 total in 31 innings in the series.
While they had limited chances, the Marlins still had opportunities.
They wasted one in the ninth inning Sunday when Hechavarria delivered his second single of the day. Lucas executed a sacrifice bunt, and Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez found himself in a bind. But Giancarlo Stanton lifted a fly ball to right field, and after Morrison was intentionally walked, Marcell Ozuna floated a routine fly ball to center.
"Part of that is youth, but at the same time, they've got enough at-bats under their belt that they know what pitches they can and can't hit at this point," Redmond said.
The Marlins received a gutsy performance from right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who on Sunday had his finest outing of the season. In his fourth start since coming off the disabled list, the right-hander threw seven scoreless innings, scattering five hits. He ended his afternoon by retiring 13 of 15 batters.
Alvarez also had one of two hits surrendered by Brewers starter Wily Peralta, who struck out seven in eight innings.
Ozuna grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the seventh inning, establishing the longest scoreless-innings drought in franchise history.
Miami tied the mark an inning earlier.
From Aug. 12-15 last year, the Marlins went 30 straight innings without a run. During that stretch, they were shut out three straight games. They finally pushed across a couple of runs in the fourth inning Aug. 15 against Roy Halladay and the Phillies.
Heading into the weekend at Milwaukee, the Marlins last scored a run July 14 against the Nationals. Derek Dietrich delivered a two-run homer in the fourth inning in a game Miami lost, 5-2, in 10 innings.
"Things were starting to come together a little bit," Lucas said. "We were gelling a bit as a team. We were winning some ballgames, and then the All-Star break hit, and we came back flat. We've continued to get great pitching, which has kind of been the case the past few months, but our bats have just been real hit or miss, and a lot more miss."