PHILADELPHIA -- With the games remaining on the schedule quickly running out, each night out becomes crucial for a Miami Marlins team trying to make a late run at a National League wild-card spot.
A crushing 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in 13 innings on Friday night halted a run of five wins in seven games, costing the team a chance to climb above .500 and instead dropping the Marlins to 73-74. That comes after a horrid 1-10 stretch from Aug. 27 to Sept. 6 that nearly ruined their playoff chances.
"Every one is painful from the standpoint of you know where you're at, and you have to think about winning absolutely every game," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Every one is tough, it hurts, you know, and that's just the way it is this time of year.
"If you have a team that cares and is trying to obviously fight for stuff, which I know we are, these kind of rip your heart out a little bit, but you've got to bounce back and keep playing because you still never know."
Those 11 games were enough to send Miami from 1 1/2 games out of the two wild-card spots to six games back, though they've battled back to cut that down to four games behind with 15 to play.
Two teams are ahead of them for the last spot: St. Louis (76-70) is three games up on the Marlins but still two games back of the New York Mets, who remain in control of their own destiny after beating the Minnesota Twins 3-0 at home on Friday night.
Miami has three games left against New York on Sept. 26-28 but first has to navigate two more against Philadelphia and then three each against Washington and Atlanta before the Mets visit south Florida.
To keep the momentum going, Mattingly will turn to Saturday night starter Jose Urena, who's coming off the best outing of his two-year professional career. Urena beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 and came one out shy of a complete-game shutout, pulled after 8 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and no walks.
Since moving into the starting rotation in July, Urena is 3-5 with a 3.88 ERA.
Philadelphia, which isn't yet officially eliminated from playoff contention for the fifth straight season -- it won't be much longer, with an elimination number of three -- sits 12 1/2 games back of the second wild-card spot.
The Phillies will hand the ball on Saturday to Jeremy Hellickson, who enters with a 11-9 record and 3.76 ERA. He's coming off a win over Pittsburgh on Sept. 12 in which he gave up one unearned run in 6 1/3 innings.
In five starts against the Marlins this season, he's 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA, giving up 10 runs (nine earned) in 31 1/3 innings. His last time against them, on Sept. 7, he took the loss, giving up four runs (three earned) in six innings of a 6-0 loss.