Published May 08, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - Look who's tied for first in the National League East.
That would be the suddenly surging Miami Marlins, who will carry their momentum to the west coast to start a four-game series Thursday with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
The Marlins and Washington Nationals are tied for first in the NL East with identical 19-15 records. The Marlins have done most of their damage at home as evidenced by an impressive 17-5 record, but are only 2-10 on the road.
Miami will also visit Los Angeles and San Francisco on the 11-game jaunt and has won four straight, including Wednesday's 1-0 victory over the New York Mets to complete a three-game sweep at Marlins Park. Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton scored the game-winning run on Marcell Ozuna's sacrifice fly with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
"Walk-off wins, as tough as they are to be on the other end of them, when you start playing well, you sort of anticipate that in the ninth inning you have a chance to win the game," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It's a huge confidence boost. It just sets a tone and reaffirms the fact that we can win a ballgame in the ninth inning at home when we want to."
Stanton, Derek Dietrich and Casey McGehee provided the hits for the Marlins, who went 8-1 on their homestand and received eight scoreless innings from starting pitcher Tom Koehler. Koehler held the Mets to a pair of hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
Steve Cishek was credited with the win, his third in four results, by hurling a perfect top of the ninth inning.
The Marlins hope Jacob Turner can find success out west and help them end their road woes when he takes the mound Thursday. Turner allowed five runs in six innings of an 8-5 win over Colorado on April 3 and did not receive a decision. He then landed on the disabled list a few days later with a shoulder strain suffered in batting practice on April 9.
Turner returned to the mound in Saturday's 9-7 loss to the Dodgers and received another no-decision after he allowed six runs and nine hits through four innings. The right-hander has a 9.90 ERA in his two appearances and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has confidence in Turner.
"He needs some innings," Saltalamacchia told the club's website. "Right now, he's behind the eight ball [compared to] the other guys because they've had a few more starts than him, so they're back in the routine."
Turner won his only career start against San Diego last June 29 in a 7-1 win at Marlins Park. He went the distance and allowed one run with seven K's and two walks for the first complete game of his career.
San Diego hopes a fresh series with Miami can get the club back on track after losing two straight and eight of the last 12 games.
The Padres suffered an 8-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals in Wednesday's rubber match at Petco Park. Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner was touched for four runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in four innings of work to fall to 2-5 on the season.
"We didn't help (Cashner_ at all in the first inning. Like you have to, you've got to make play's," said Padres manager Bud Black, who saw the team commit three errors. "When you're not scoring runs miscues in the field are magnified and that's what happened today, that's what happened in the first inning."
Cameron Maybin, Rene Rivera and Alexi Amarista had two hits apiece for San Diego, which is 2-4 on a 10-game homestand and 9-10 at Petco Park.
Tasked with trying to cool down the Marlins will be San Diego right-hander Ian Kennedy. Kennedy is 1-3 in his last four decisions and sustained the loss in Saturday's 4-3 setback to Arizona, as he allowed a season-high 11 hits in five innings and gave up three runs with seven K's and only one walk.
Kennedy has struck out at least five batters in each of his last six outings and is 2-4 with a 3.43 ERA in seven starts. He won at Miami on April 6, when he delivered six innings of one-run ball in a 4-2 triumph, and has a 3-1 record to go along with a 3.52 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins.
The Padres lost two of the three games in south Florida early last month and are 6-10 in the past 16 meetings between the teams.