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MIA 1, SDP 2; Marlins can’t wake up from one-run nightmare

For the fourth game in a row, the Marlins were agonizingly close to victory.

Manny Machado #13 of the San Diego Padres hits a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Manny Machado entered Thursday in the midst of one of the most outstanding offensive stretches of his already-prolific career. He added a new element to his dominance with his first multi-home run game of 2022. Both came off Jesús Luzardo, and although both were merely solo shots, that was enough for the Padres to win on a night when the Marlins’ lineup looked impotent.

Luzardo deviated somewhat from his usual formula of putting away batters with his slurvy breaking ball. In this outing, he registered five of his seven punchies on well-located fastballs. Even the game-deciding Machado homer in the bottom of the fourth inning painted the inside corner of the plate at 98 miles per hour. It took a good piece of hitting to make it seem regrettable.

Luzardo also incorporated a season-high 21 changeups. He is rapidly solidifying himself as a mid-rotation-caliber pitcher.

But Luzardo’s counterpart in the series opener, Nick Martinez, was equally impressive, albeit without the tantalizing pure stuff. The Marlins plated a run in the third thanks to singles by Miguel Rojas, Payton Henry and Jesús Aguilar. They seldom threatened to score after that.

Martinez induced six of his nine swinging strikes on changeups. On average, he had an insane 14.2 mph differential in velocity between his offspeed pitches and four-seamers/sinkers. The Miami native was really dialed in.

As usual, Jazz Chisholm Jr. made his presence felt. He stole his sixth base of the year in the top of the eighth—tying him for the National League lead in that department—then turned an athletic double play in the home half.

This was Jorge Alfaro’s first time playing against the Marlins since they traded him away over the offseason. In addition to guiding San Diego’s pitchers through a successful evening, it was his only game this season without striking out—he previously had a 52.3 K%.

Miami Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas (right) forces out San Diego Padres catcher Jorge Alfaro (38) at second base during the fifth inning at Petco Park Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Bass continues to thrive. He’s now had eight straight appearances without surrendering an earned run, stranding all five of his inherited baserunners as well.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Anthony Bender. April 26 remains the only clean outing of his 2022 season. His slider is not missing bats like it did early in his rookie season and his changeup still needs more polish before becoming a useful pitch. Following Shawn Armstrong’s departure (and excluding the newly recalled Tommy Nance), Bender is arguably the weakest link in the Marlins bullpen—it shouldn’t catch anybody off guard if he gets sent down to Triple-A in the coming weeks.

Joey Wendle made his return to the lineup after resting three full games due to hamstring soreness. Typical Wendle, he put the ball in play and fielded his position smoothly, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Marlins out of their rut.

Win Probability Chart - Marlins @ Padres Baseball Savant

We’re getting another 9:40 p.m. ET first pitch on Friday. Sandy Alcantara and Yu Darvish are the probable starting pitchers.