CLEVELAND — The Miami Marlins are sinking quickly and hoping a trip home can keep their playoff hopes afloat.
After closer Fernando Rodney allowed three runs in the ninth inning in a 6-5 loss to the Indians on Sunday, Miami finished a seven-game trip to New York and Cleveland 1-6.
“That kind of game ends a really bad trip for us,” manager Don Mattingly said. “There are different kinds of losses and this one stings.”
The loss was the seventh in the last eight games for Miami, which now sits four games back of the final NL wild-card spot and a game below .500 for the first time since April 28.
“We needed this one,” starting pitcher Tom Koehler said. “We’ve got to get on that plane and head back home. We’ve got six games at home and we got to play better baseball.”
Despite the rough trip, Mattingly has faith in the ability of his team to reach the postseason.
“Probably 10 days ago, I was sitting basically saying, ‘Somebody’s going to get hot,’ and nobody really has,” Mattingly said. “You still have to be able to turn that page, put it behind us, knowing that there’s a possibility of magic out there, of us getting hot and doing something.”
After scoring two runs off Indians reliever Andrew Miller to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the ninth, the Marlins called upon Rodney to close out the game.
The reliever walked the first two batters of the inning and threw a wild pitch that put each into scoring position.
Jose Ramirez then tied it with a two-out RBI single before Lonnie Chisenhall delivered a game-ending base hit to right.
It spoiled a late Marlins rally. With the score tied, Miguel Rojas and Ichiro Suzuki hit back-to-back doubles to take a one-run lead in the ninth. Martin Prado hit a sacrifice fly to extend it to 5-3.
The late-inning issues on the mound came after a solid start from Koehler. The right-hander allowed just three hits over six scoreless innings, much to the enjoyment of his manager.
“Tom just pitched really well,” Mattingly said. “Keeps them off speed after they kind of knocked Jose around yesterday and I thought Tom just kept changing speeds, changing areas and kind of kept them off balance.”
Koehler recognized that he pitched well in the game, but wasn’t at all satisfied with the result.
“Happy is far from what I’m feeling right now,” Koehler said. “Everyone’s just upset about the fact that we just got swept and we won one game on this road trip. We came into this road trip in a good spot still and we got to try to get past this and do whatever it takes at this point.”
Marlins: OF Marcell Ozuna (sore left wrist) was out of the lineup again and is considered day-to-day.
Marlins: RHP Jake Esch will make his second major league start in the opener of a three-game home series against Philadelphia.