Published November 20, 2014
Josh Johnson took a big step forward last time out in his return from a shoulder injury, but was still denied his first victory in over a year.
The Miami Marlins' ace hopes for a similar outing today but with a winning result in the third contest of a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Johnson's 2011 season ended after just nine starts due to right shoulder inflammation, ending a solid start to a campaign in which he was 3-1 with a 1.64 earned run average.
The 28-year-old righty was then rocked for nine runs and 21 hits over 9 2/3 innings over his first two starts of this season, both losses, but has since settled down over a pair of outings.
Johnson pitched a season-high seven innings in a no-decision against the Cubs on April 17, allowing two runs, then struck out nine while scattering three hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball on Tuesday versus the Mets. However, he didn't get a decision in his club's 2-1 loss, getting denied his first win since April 19.
Still, Johnson called the start a big step forward and is 3-1 with a 1.00 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona will give 25-year-old Wade Miley another start in place of the injured Daniel Hudson after a brilliant outing on Monday.
Miley began the season with three relief appearances, then made the eighth start of his young career versus the Phillies to begin the week. He picked up the win, allowing just two hits and a walk over six scoreless innings while fanning a career-high seven batters.
"He got ahead in the count a lot of the times," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson about Miley. "He was hitting his spots tonight. He did a good job for us when we needed him to."
The lefty is now 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA on the season and none of his previous 12 career outings have come against the Marlins.
Miami drew even in this series with Saturday's 3-2 win, getting a walk-off RBI single from the struggling Hanley Ramirez to snap a six-game losing streak.
Ramirez had gone hitless in 26 straight at-bats before his game-winner that prevented him from challenging the longest hitting drought of his career, an 0-for-29 slump in 2006. He had extra motivation after the Diamondbacks walked Jose Reyes to get to him.
"It pumped me up," said Ramirez about Arizona intentionally walking Reyes. "I just told myself, shorten your swing up and stay through the middle."
Reyes, who came into the game with just three hits in his past 23 at-bats, was dropped to second in the batting order and started Miami's comeback with a run-scoring hit in the seventh, while Logan Morrison tied the game on an eighth-inning homer.
Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra drove in a run apiece for the Diamondbacks, who have lost three of four and eight of their past 11. Aaron Hill drew a walk to reach base safely for a 16th straight game, but Jason Kubel went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts to end his 10-game hitting streak.
The Diamondbacks won five of seven versus the Marlins a season ago.