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Richards struggles with control as Marlins fall

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MILWAUKEE -- Trevor Richards was in trouble early and often, but the rookie right-hander still managed to avoid the big inning. That is, until three pitches broke everything open in the fourth.

In a three-pitch span, Richards allowed an RBI triple to Christian Yelich and back-to-back home runs to Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw, as the Brewers broke things open en route to handing the Marlins an 8-0 loss on Friday at Miller Park.

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MILWAUKEE -- Trevor Richards was in trouble early and often, but the rookie right-hander still managed to avoid the big inning. That is, until three pitches broke everything open in the fourth.

In a three-pitch span, Richards allowed an RBI triple to Christian Yelich and back-to-back home runs to Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw, as the Brewers broke things open en route to handing the Marlins an 8-0 loss on Friday at Miller Park.

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"I just left some pitches up," Richards said. "They were attacking early. I left some breaking balls, some offspeed up early, and they made me pay."

In the two losses to start the four-game series at Milwaukee, the Marlins have been outscored 20-3, and for the seventh time this season, Miami has allowed eight or more runs.

"Obviously, we haven't scored and didn't score tonight," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Last night, there was some sort of attack, but it's really more about the pitching for us. Tonight, we get in trouble early, a lot of pitches early, a lot of deep counts early into areas of the bullpen you don't want to get into at all, but obviously, we're not into that ballgame long enough."

Making his fourth big league start, Richards was in trouble from the start. The 24-year-old walked three and allowed a run in a 39-pitch first inning, seeing 12 pitches fouled off.

"We threw a lot of pitches early," Richards said. "After that first and second inning, I knew I needed to get in the zone and make adjustments. My offspeed just wasn't there tonight."

Richards walked six after combining for five in his first three starts. It was a two-out free pass he issued to Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning that set up the five-run frame. After losing Cain, Yelich jumped a changeup for an RBI triple, Braun connected on a slider for his home run and Shaw's shot to right was on a four-seam fastball.

"It started with Cain and Yelich," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "[Cain's] at-bat in the fourth inning, it was two outs, nobody on. He's down in the count, two strikes, and he battles a walk. All of a sudden, we've got a five-spot up here. We made it tough on the opposing guy."

Richards didn't make it through the fourth, exiting after 102 pitches (61 strikes). He allowed six runs (five earned) on six walks and five hits over 3 ⅔ innings.

Tayron Guerrero relieved Richards and struck out four over 1 1/3 innings while allowing one walk. Guerrero threw four fastballs that Statcast™ had at 100-plus mph, with a high of 100.4 mph.

Video: MIA@MIL: Guerrero strikes out Cain, side in 5th

"I was all over the zone," Richards said. "Mechanics, and rushing, and just little things like that. I was throwing the ball not where I wanted it. Obviously, it showed. I threw a lot of balls early. I was able to get out of it [in the first], which was good. But I just needed to do that earlier."

SOUND SMART
You can say J.B. Shuck was hustling down the line on his infield single in the fifth inning. In fact, the Miami right fielder was motoring. According to Statcast™, Shuck's sprint speed to first base was 29.9 feet per second, which is on the border of elite status. From home to first, Shuck was at 3.97 seconds. Anything below 4 seconds on a non-bunt is especially impressive.

Video: MIA@MIL: Shuck beats out a grounder for a hit in 5th

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
By the time he stepped into the box with one out in the fifth inning, Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin saw enough to know he wasn't about to dig in against Guerrero. The towering 6-foot-8 right-hander with the 100 mph fastball had just struck out Jett Bandy, and with one out and with a six-run lead, Chacin stood far back in the batters' box. His heels almost touched the third-base side of the batter's box, and on each Guerrero pitch, the Brewers pitcher backed up even more.

The first pitch hummed in at 99.4 mph for a ball. Seeing that Chacin wasn't about to swing, Guerrero grooved the next two fastballs for strikes -- 95.4 mph and 95.9 mph. Guerrero then buzzed a 99.7 mph fastball that Chacin took for strike three.

Video: MIA@MIL: Guerrero freezes Chacin with 100-mph heater

HE SAID IT
"It's pretty bad right now. We have to find a way to start playing better, overall. We're not going to win games if we don't score runs. Even with Trevor fighting for outs early in the game, he fights through the first couple of innings. We have to find a way to score runs. Even if we throw a one-run game, we're not going to win if we don't score." -- shortstop Miguel Rojas, on the Marlins' recent struggles

ROJAS 'OK' AFTER DIVE
The Marlins avoided potential disaster in the first inning on Cain's lead-off infield single. On the play, Rojas ranged to his left and dove. He collected the ball but didn't make a throw. For a second, Rojas collected himself to make sure his left shoulder was fine.

In recent years, Rojas has missed time due to left shoulder injuries. Saturday was one of the few times he tested the shoulder by leaving his feet.

"It's OK," Rojas said. "I just dove and landed a little funny right there. But the rest of the game was fine. I haven't had the opportunity to dive too much."

Rojas said he is positioning himself a little more up the middle to avoid diving to his left, which has caused him the most trouble.

UP NEXT
Jose Urena, the Marlins' Opening Day starter, will be making his fifth start on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Miller Park, and the right-hander seeks his first win. This also is his first road start. This will be his second start, and sixth appearance, against the Brewers. Milwaukee counters with lefty Brent Suter.

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

Miami Marlins, Trevor Richards