Sun Sentinel Broward Edition
With Dee Gordon off, Marlins end solid homestand with loss
MIAMI— Marlins manager Mike Redmond was feeling so good about his team’s torrid play of late that he had the audacity to rest three starters including Dee Gordon, the leading hitter in the major leagues who had reached base in his previous nine plate appearances.
For a while Redmond’s good intentions before an upcoming grueling 10-game, 10-day road trip seemed to be paying off and even had a potential storybook plot line after the Solano brothers — batting in the same major league lineup for the first time — gave the Marlins a shortlived 2-1 lead after five innings.
But Redmond’s plan unraveled from there as starter Jarred Cosart tired while awakening slumbering giant Ryan Howard, who ignited two-run rallies in the sixth and seventh to propel the Phillies to a 6-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Marlins Park.
So Redmond, whose job went from tenuous to secure while the Marlins won nine of their previous 10, was once again facing a second-guessing media who wondered how could he rest the 27-year-old Gordon and his absurd .440 batting average.
The Marlins also were without Gordon’s reliable glove at second base (one error in 127 chances) as his replacement, Donovan Solano — playing his first game in the field this season — made two errors, including a run-costing add-on in the Phillies’ two-run seventh.
“It’s tough but at the same time it’s just his second full season in the big leagues and he played 148 games last year,’’ Redmond explained. “He hadn’t had a day off yet
so you’ve got to make sure these guys rest over a course of a season.
“I’d like to say you could play nine guys for 162 games but it’s not possible.’’
While Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg smiled and said, “It was good to see,’’ Gordon out of the lineup, Gordon was OK with it.
“It’s a long season,’’ he said. “It’s fine and I’ll be ready to play [Monday].’’
So the Marlins’ fourgame winning streak ended and they failed to rise above .500 for the first time this season, however, they completed a sterling 7-2 homestand and are right back in the division race.
“Everybody had us dead and buried 10 days ago,’’ Redmond said. “We never panicked. We’ll start a new streak tomorrow. We’ve got a challenge ahead of us with Washington and tough places to win in San Francisco and L.A.
“It’s a resilient group, a great group of guys who play together. They were excited when Solano got the big hit and were fired up when [Ichiro Suzuki] stole a couple of bases. It didn’t work out today but we’ll get them tomorrow.’’
Cosart was cruising along, allowing just a scratch hit through the first four innings before the Phillies tied it on a tainted run. With first and second and two outs, speedy leadoff hitter Ben Revere slapped a bouncer to the left side where Adeiny Hechavarria seemingly had a backhanded bead on it only to allow the ball to slip under his glove for what was charitably scored an RBI single.
Tied at 1-1, the Solano siblings lived out a dream as Donovan, 27, led off with a single up the middle and big brother, Jhonatan, making his first appearance for the Marlins since being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on April 24, ripped a double into the left-field-corner to score his baby brother.
“I felt happy; it was a dream playing with my brother but we lost the game and that’s all that matters,’’ said Jhonatan, 29, who last played with his brother in the Winter leagues two years ago. “
However, the frustrated Phillies, who snapped a five-game slide, answered with a two-run sixth. Cosart hit Darin Ruf with a pitch to bring up Howard, who had been mired in a 3-for-24 slump — including two whiffs in his first two at-bats — before crushing a 2-0 sinker to dead center for an RBI triple. Grady Sizemore ripped a single to left for a 3-2 lead to end Cosart’s outing at five innings (three runs, five hits, six strikeouts and one walk).
“That sixth inning was as bad as you can get,’’ said Cosart, who threw 92 pitches, 54 for strikes. “We talk about shut-down innings as a pitcher and I wasn’t able to do that.
“I hit him there and threw pitches right down the middle. I don’t care if you’re batting .000 or .500, you can’t throw major leaguers pitchs down the middle.’’
While the Phillies’ bullpen (one hit over last four innings) preserved rookie starter Severino Gonzalez’ first big-league victory in his second start, Marlins’ relievers — mostly Bryan Morris — imploded. …
The revamped lineup included Reid Brignac at third in place of Martin Prado, the hitting hero of Saturday’s 7-0 win with four RBI, including a three-run homer. Prado was struck on the hamstring by a pitch in the late innings but Redmond said it’s just sore and, “he’s going to be fine.’’ ...
Marlins starter Mat Latos, who limped off the field in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 7-3 win over the Mets with a tweaked hamstring, threw a successful bullpen session on Saturday and will rejoin the rotation for his regular start on Tuesday against the Nationals.