SAN DIEGO -- Say this about the Marlins’ pitchers: Vest them with a bunch of runs, and they sure know what to do with them.
Say this about the Marlins’ batters: They’re feeling much, much better about themselves after a 9-3 victory over the Padres on Saturday night at Petco Park.
The Marlins matched their biggest inning of the season with five runs in the fourth inning, while sending 11 batters to the plate against left-handed starter Nick Margevicius and right-handed reliever Luis Perdomo. Their six hits in the frame also matched a season high for an inning.
It was a feel-good start to June for a Marlins offense that was last in the Majors in scoring in both April and May.
“I came to the field today saying, ‘May is over,’” said first baseman Martín Prado, who batted .150 in the month but went 2-for-5 with an RBI on Saturday. “I told everybody, ‘I don’t want to talk about it. Don’t tell me anything about May.’ I just came with a refreshed attitude.”
He had plenty of teammates with reason to embrace June.
The seven Marlins who batted twice in the game against Margevicius went 5-for-6 with a walk in their second looks. That’s a huge improvement from the previous night, when the Marlins were 0-for-8 second time through against another lefty, Joey Lucchesi.
“They got some different lefties out there, a little bit different to deal with,” manager Don Mattingly said. “It seemed like the guys tonight, second time through, were ready to jump him.
“That was good to see. We needed a little kick-start.”
Marlins starter José Ureña, who was in a 2-0 hole after Josh Naylor hit his first Major League homer in the second inning, buckled down and kept the Padres from having any comeback ideas. He limited the Padres to one run, two hits and two walks in three innings of work after the outburst.
The Marlins have scored more than three runs in an inning seven times this season, but only three of those occasions came while their starting pitcher was in the game.
On April 13 vs. the Phillies, Caleb Smith tossed six innings of one-hit ball while benefiting from a four-run third. On Tuesday, the Marlins scored four runs in the fifth against the Giants while Trevor Richards was tossing seven innings of two-hit ball. This time around, Ureña’s final line was six innings, three hits, three runs, three walks and six strikeouts.
“When you get the run support, it’s pretty good,” said Ureña, who improved to 4-6 this season and 1-3 lifetime vs. the Padres. “You just want to hold the game. If you hold the game, good things can happen.”
Here was a good thing for the Marlins: Bryan Holaday provided add-on runs with a two-run home run off right-hander Adam Warren in the sixth inning. It was his first big league hit of 2019.
Here is an even better thing for the Marlins: With a victory Sunday, they can win the three-game weekend series. That would give them four series wins against their past five opponents. Since May 15, when they dropped to 10-31 after a second straight shutout loss, the Marlins have gone 10-5 and have averaged five runs a game. That’s well above their season average of 3.2 runs a game.
“I said in the beginning of the year, that the pitching might click first, the bullpen might click first,” Prado said. “In our case, the hitting was not clicking from Opening Day.
“But I also said, ‘You know what? There’s going to be a point into the season where we’re all going to click -- pitching, bullpen and hitting. We’ve got to maintain that attitude, when we get that feeling as a team, to keep that as long as we can.’”
Said Mattingly: “I hope we’re turning in the right direction. The good thing about this group in here is they’re pretty steady. We’ve got some good older guys that keep things in perspective and go about their business in the right way.
“This group has hung together and kept fighting. Our pitching has been good pretty much all the time. They give us a chance to win games. Now that we’re swinging the bats a little bit, you feel a lot more competitive.”
The Marlins’ other five-run inning happened on May 23, when they rallied to victory at Detroit with five runs in the ninth. They had six hits on April 27 in the sixth inning at Philadelphia in a 12-9 loss.