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Chen stellar over 6, but late rally falls short

Lefty tosses six innings of one-run ball; Castro cuts deficit to 1 with homer in ninth
MLB.com

MIAMI -- With the starting rotation in flux and innings coming at a premium, the Marlins are looking for quality starts. Wei-Yin Chen did his part Wednesday at Marlins Park, delivering six strong innings in one of his better outings of the season.

Chen surrendered just one run on a night when the Marlins' offense was held in check. The D-backs, behind Robbie Ray's six shutout innings, held off a ninth-inning threat to beat Miami, 2-1.

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MIAMI -- With the starting rotation in flux and innings coming at a premium, the Marlins are looking for quality starts. Wei-Yin Chen did his part Wednesday at Marlins Park, delivering six strong innings in one of his better outings of the season.

Chen surrendered just one run on a night when the Marlins' offense was held in check. The D-backs, behind Robbie Ray's six shutout innings, held off a ninth-inning threat to beat Miami, 2-1.

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Video: ARI@MIA: Chen fans 5 across 6, allows only 1 run

The Marlins entered the ninth with just two hits. But Starlin Castro opened the inning by crushing a home run off closer Brad Boxberger. It was his second homer in as many nights. Brian Anderson walked, and with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch, where he was stranded.

"Wei-Yin threw a good game, kept us in it," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. "The pitch count was really good in the first four and then he had a little trouble there in the fifth, and then he gets us through the sixth. One run with him ... I thought he had crisp stuff early on."

Video: ARI@MIA: Mattingly on Chen's impressive performance

After trailing by a run in the fifth inning, the Marlins fell into a two-run hole when Daniel Descalso connected on a pinch-hit home run off Adam Conley to open the eighth inning. The D-backs, after dropping the series opener on Monday, have now won back-to-back games, and lead the season series, 5-1, with one more contest set for Thursday afternoon.

After starting the game with three perfect innings, Chen ran into some trouble in the fifth. Arizona's Deven Marrero got his club on the board with a blistering line drive up the middle, scoring Ketel Marte.

Chen's defense behind him kept the damage minimal, as Lewis Brinson fired a strike from center field to cut down Chris Owings at the plate.

Video: ARI@MIA: Brinson nabs Owings at home with great throw

Wednesday was the first time Chen worked as many as six innings and allowed one or no runs in a start since May 26 against the Nationals -- where he allowed one run in 7 1/3 innings.

Chen has been a different pitcher at home in 2018, lowering his ERA to 2.30 in his fifth start at Marlins Park. On the road, the veteran lefty's ERA is 9.85 in seven starts.

Brad Ziegler tossed a scoreless seventh in relief before Conley surrendered the homer to Descalso to open the eighth.

With starters Caleb Smith and Jose Urena on the disabled list, and starting pitching prospects set to arrive this weekend, Chen stepped up with an impressive outing, scattering five hits while striking out five and walking one.

"For the most part, you give up two runs, you have a pretty good shot at winning," said Mattingly.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, after Castro's solo home run cut the Marlins' deficit to one run, Brinson stepped into the box with a chance to tie or win the game. Instead, Brinson grounded out to third base, unable to advance Anderson from second and leaving the rally in Dietrich's hands, but he flew out softly to right to end the game.

Video: ARI@MIA: Castro crushes a solo home run to deep left

"We never quit," Castro said. "We just try to continue fighting until the end. No matter what inning it is, we continue fighting. In the ninth, we were really close."

SOUND SMART
Anderson, who was 0-for-2, walked in the fourth and ninth innings, extending his career-best on-base streak to 24 straight games. It's the longest active on-base streak in the National League, and longest such streak by a rookie in the Majors this year.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Brinson showed off his arm strength in the fifth, nailing Owings at the plate on Marrero's RBI single up the middle. According to Statcast™, Brinson's throw was the second-hardest registered of his career, a 94.1-mph frozen rope. The toss traveled 247 feet. It was Brinson's first career outfield assist, and it came in his 92nd big league game.

Video: ARI@MIA: Brinson's 94.1-mph throw nabs run at home

"That was huge," Mattingly said. "We were right there at the top of their order, too. They were getting ready to roll through the top. That gets us an out there. That was huge."

Chen concurred with his manager. 

"I allowed a run there and that could have been a huge turning point in the game," said Chen via his interpreter. "He threw out the runner at home and that helped me settle down, so I only allowed one run in that inning and kept us in the game." More >

HE SAID IT
"I've been feeling a little more comfortable up there. I try to go up there trying to compete and not give any at-bats away. I'm just competing, competing, competing. That's the way I've felt the last three or four days now." -- Castro, after homering in back-to-back games

UP NEXT
Miami sends rookie Trevor Richards to the mound Thursday at 12:10 p.m. ET to finish up its four-game series with the D-backs at Marlins Park. Richards is coming off one of the best starts of his young career, a win in Colorado on Saturday in which he struck out eight in six strong innings. Arizona will counter with their ace, Zack Greinke.

Max Goodman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow him on Twitter @max_goodman97.

Miami Marlins