SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Two bounces that went in favor of the Florida Marlins helped them to victory.
The Marlins escaped a jam in the bottom half after a pitch by
Armando Almanza bounced away from catcher Charles Johnson. The
four-time Gold Glove winner recovered the ball in time to throw out
pinch-runner Trenidad Hubbard at the plate to end the inning.
"Sometimes when things are going your way, you get those
bounces,'' Johnson said. "I think Hubbard thought the ball bounced
farther away than it did.''
Florida won its first road series since June 10-12 at Kansas
City. The Marlins, who took two of three from San Diego, had been
0-7-1 since then. They finished their road trip 3-3.
''(The win) turned a bad road trip into a pretty good one,''
Eric Owens said.
Owens led off the Florida eighth with a single against Brandon
Villafuerte (1-2) and went to second on a sacrifice by Johnson.
Castillo hit a high chopper over the head of third baseman Phil
Nevin, and left fielder Gene Kingsale's throw to the plate sailed
up the third-base line as Owens scored to snap a 6-all tie.
"That would have been a tough one to lose after being up by
four runs,'' Owens said. "We made the plays when it was crucial.''
Toby Borland (1-0), recalled from Triple-A Calgary on Saturday,
pitched one inning for the win. Braden Looper got three outs for
his seventh save.
Almanza struck out Wiki Gonzalez to start the bottom of the
eighth, but he reached first when the third strike bounced away
from Johnson for a wild pitch. Hubbard came in to pinch run.
With Ryan Klesko at the plate, Almanza bounced a 2-0 pitch in
the dirt. The ball bounced off Johnson and rolled about 20 feet
away. Hubbard tried to score, but Johnson's throw to Almanza was in
plenty of time to nail the runner at home and end the threat.
"The only reason why maybe it wasn't a great gamble was because
Klesko was hitting,'' Johnson said. "If you have one of your best
hitters up there, you want to make sure if you go, you make it.''
Kotsay had an infield single, and Klesko hit a two-run homer off
Brad Penny in San Diego's four-run fifth inning. Nevin followed
with a double and, after a two-out walk to Brian Buchanan, scored
on Deivi Cruz's single.
Gonzalez tied it at 6 on an RBI single.
Cruz drove in three runs, including a sacrifice fly and an RBI
double. Nevin went 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
"We played a pretty good game, but there were a couple of
mistakes that hurt us,'' Klesko said.
Millar also had an RBI single in the third, when Florida went
ahead 3-1. Mike Lowell added a sacrifice fly in the inning and
another run scored on an error by shortstop Cruz.
Nevin finished 8-for-13 with six runs scored and three RBI
in the three-game series. ... Encarnacion's previous high for
homers was 19 with Detroit in 1999. ... The Padres have lost 16 of
Tomko's last 21 starts. ... Castillo had two infield singles,
raising his total to 37 -- second in the NL to Colorado's Juan