On the several occasions that the Marlins have dropped close games, there was a number of different causes to point to. In Saturday afternoon's 2-1, 11 inning loss to the San Francisco Giants, starting pitching was most certainly not one of those things.
AT&T Park is, to say the very least, a pitcher's ballpark. In fact, according to ESPN, it ranks dead last in runs per game. As such, the Giants' home field has witnessed more than its fair share of pitching duels. Today was no different.
Jacob Turner turned in a terrific start on Saturday. After lasting just five innings in his last start against Arizona, the Marlins' young righty went seven frames to line himself up for a possible win. Before he would be pulled, Turner would give up just one run on six hits while walking just one.
The righty out of Saint Charles, MO, worked well with his pitches today. His fastball was lively, running in on the Giants' right handed hitters. At 92 mph, that fastball made his secondary pitches even deadlier. In the bottom of the seventh, Brandon Crawford led off for the Giants. Turner hit the zone with consecutive fastballs before putting a breaking pitch in the dirt for a swinging strikeout.
On two occasions, both involving the Giants' Juan Perez,Turner even showed some of his athleticism today. In the bottom of the second, with Perez on first, Turner flashed some nifty footwork. With two outs, Nick Noonan had dug his cleats into the dirt, ready for the at-bat. Before he would get a single pitch, Turner took a quick turn and rifled a ball to first, catching Perez in the middle of his lead to end the inning.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, the Marlins' starter watched Barry Zito put down a bunt. With Perez charging from third, Turner quickly gathered himself, picked up the bunt and hurried it to the glove of catcher Jeff Mathis who blocked the plate.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Marlins' 22 year old starter also collected his first major league hit. Turner tapped a single that found its way beyond a diving Barry Zito. Giants first baseman Brandon Belt had to come off his bag in order to back-up the play, allowing Turner to reach undeterred.
As great as his performance was, Turner's day on the mound becomes even more impressive when one considers the heavy heart he must have been playing with. On Wednesday, Turner's father had passed away.
The Marlins failed to provide any sort of run support for their starter today. By game's end, Miami had left a total of nine men on base.
There's an interesting statistic concerning base running for the Marlins. As it turns out, Miami leaves just over six men on base per game, the third lowest mark in baseball.
The Marlins' third baseman Ed Lucas hit the first big league homerun of his career this afternoon, a shot to left field.
That was Lucas's sixth RBI of the year. He continued swinging well Saturday after going 2-for-5 with two runs scored on Friday. On the season, the 31-year-old rookie is batting with a slash line of .281/.352/.313.