Jesús Luzardo struggled right from the get-go on Wednesday night. The Marlins offense did their best to keep things interesting after his early exit, but the Astros struck again with another rally in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
Luzardo surrendered three home runs in the top of the first to Alex Bregman (solo homer), Kyle Tucker (solo homer) and Chas McCormick (two-run shot). Each home run that Luzardo gave up came on a different pitch type. He then gave up an RBI double to Mauricio Dubón, which made it 5-0.
“Just a loss of feel for some stuff,” said Luzardo following the game. “Maybe slightly mechanical, maybe slightly tipping pitches. Couldn’t be a mixture of things. I think after the first inning, we figured it out and then the next two-and-a-third were better.”
Luzardo has had only one quality start in six tries since the All-Star break.
On the bright side, the Marlins were able to get to future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander. After back-to-back singles from Luis Arráez and Josh Bell, Jake Burger came to the plate and drove both of them in with a double that left the bat at 108.5 mph.
“I thought we stayed on the slider really well,” said Schumaker. “Burger, just hard hit after hard hit, really stayed on the slider as good as anybody tonight. Bell with some really good at-bats as well, stay down on the changeup. His changeup is really good. He throws a curveball at the top of the zone, which is very rare for a lot of pitchers and tunnels that fastball at the top and then the curveball at the top as well. It’s hard to hit, but I felt like we did a really good job of staying on top of the baseball.”
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Miami Magic made another appearance. Jon Berti grounded into a force out which scored Burger, but shortstop Jeremy Peña made a bad throw to first when attempting to complete the double play. That allowed Jesús Sánchez to score and made it a 6-4 game.
Just an inning later, the Marlins scored their fifth run of the ballgame off of Verlander. After Burger got his third hit of the night, Bryan De La Cruz drove him in to make it a one-run game.
That would be Verlander’s final inning of work. This was the most success that the Marlins have ever had against him as they got to him early and were able to stay aggressive. Verlander recorded only three swinging strikes.
What was at the time a close game took a huge turn in the top of the seventh inning. Reliever Jorge López gave up six runs (two of those inherited from Andrew Nardi) to make it a 12-5 ballgame. A Mauricio Dubón sac fly, José Altuve bases-loaded walk, a Bregman double and a Tucker single produced those runs.
López’s final line was 0.1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO (23 NP)
“The command wasn’t there, that’s what we saw,” said Skip Schumaker following the game. “He just didn’t have a feel for the slider and sinker was kind of missing on the the glove side. Put him in there to try to get a ground ball and get out of that inning.”
The Marlins were unable to get anything else going after that disaster and they would go on to drop the series finale by a final score of 12-5. Luzardo takes the loss and Miami finishes the homestand with a 3-3 record.
The Marlins now go on a west coast trip to take on the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers and the struggling but talented San Diego Padres. Isaac Azout will have coverage of games one and two of the Dodgers series and all three games of the Padres series.
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images