(Sports Network) - The Miami Marlins try to put the brakes on a two-game
losing streak when they kick off a three-game set against the San Diego Padres
Friday at Marlins Park.
The Marlins won the first game of their series with the Atlanta Braves but
went on to lose the next two, including a 7-1 setback in Wednesday's finale.
Justin Ruggiano knocked in the only run of the day for the Marlins, while
starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco (8-9) was tagged with the loss after allowing
six runs on eight hits and a walk with three strikeouts over 5 1/3 frames.
"I made a few mistakes and gave up two-run homers," Nolasco said. "That was
the game. Two balls that came back over the plate. Obviously, I didn't want to
do that, they just cut on me."
Of course, the Marlins have become sellers at this year's trade deadline,
already having dealt third baseman Hanley Ramirez, second baseman Omar Infante
and righty Anibal Sanchez. The team is also believed to be shopping Nolasco
and fellow starter Josh Johnson.
Tonight, though, they turn to volatile righty Carlos Zambrano, who has lost
five of his last six decisions. Zambrano lost in Pittsburgh on Saturday and
failed to get out of the fourth inning, as he allowed five runs (4 earned) and
three hits with six walks in just 3 1/3 innings. He is 5-8 with a 4.42 earned
run average on the year.
"I don't know what to say," Zambrano said after his most recent loss. "I'm
working hard. I'm doing all my exercises. I'm doing everything...I'm not
pitching the way I'm supposed to pitch. I'm not doing my job. It's terrible."
Zambrano could get himself righted tonight, as he faces a Padres team that he
has owned over the course of his career. In 13 starts against San Diego, he is
7-2 with a 2.14 ERA. The ERA is the second-lowest among active pitchers (with
13 starts or more) against the Padres, while his .778 winning-percentage and
.199 batting average-against rank third.
However, San Diego has won its last eight games in Miami.
Hoping to make it nine tonight will be righty Kip Wells, whose 2.39 ERA in 10
outings against the Marlins is his best against any team. But like Zambrano,
he has also struggled of late, and is 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA on the season.
Wells did not get a decision on Saturday against Colorado, but did not pitch
well, allowing six runs (5 earned) and eight hits in only 4 2/3 innings.
San Diego salvaged the finale of its three-game set with the San Francisco
Giants on Wednesday, as Jesus Guzman belted two home runs and drove in five in
the Padres' 6-3 win.
Chase Headley hit a solo home run and Will Venable added a two-run double for
the Padres, while Jason Marquis (4-5) won his third straight start after he
gave up three runs -- one earned -- on three hits with a walk and eight
strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings.
"He's got to pitch good to stay in the rotation, but he's pitched fine,"
Padres manager Bud Black said of Marquis. "He's been given an opportunity to
be in a major league rotation after [being released by] Minnesota. He's taken
full advantage of it by pitching well."
Miami swept a three-game set from the Padres at Petco Park earlier in the
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