PHOENIX — Fresh off paternity leave, Tom Koehler made his way back to the mound for the Marlins for the first time since the birth of his daughter. Based on the unsightly results, he probably wished he was back home changing diapers or mixing formula — anything but taking his lumps on a baseball field.
Koehler was spanked hard by last-place Arizona in a 9-1 Marlins loss at Chase Field, the most lopsided loss for the Marlins since a 10-1 dusting by the San Diego Padres on May 9. With Koehler getting knocked around, the Diamondbacks sure didn’t look like the club with the worst record in the National League, not given how they went to work on the Marlins’ right-hander.
By the time the Diamondbacks were done spinning him about, Koehler had given up seven runs on eight hits, a pair of walks, and a hit batsman. And that was all accomplished in three-plus innings of work. A stellar outing it was not. It was the quickest exit of Koehler’s 42-start career.
“It’s not the way you want to pitch,” Koehler said. “When I threw the ball over the plate, they hit it hard.”
The Marlins arrived in the desert on a high note after taking only their second series in St. Louis since 2003. But the good times didn’t continue at Chase Field, which provided a shield from not only the 100-degree heat, but Arizona’s other harsh elements.
Around the time Koehler stepped on the mound, a dust storm warning was in effect for the Phoenix area. While there were no noticeable signs of dust inside the Diamondbacks’ covered ballpark, Arizona spent the first three innings kicking sand, so to speak, on Koehler.
Koehler managed to get out of trouble in the first after giving up a pair of one-out walks. But he was not so fortunate in the second when the Diamondbacks sent nine men to the plate, scoring five runs on six hits.
After Koehler gave up a leadoff home run to Martin Prado and a single to Gerardo Parra, he appeared briefly to have again avoided any major damage by recording two quick outs. His good fortune did not continue, however, as Arizona went to work, reeling off four consecutive hits, including a pair of two-run doubles by David Peralta and Miguel Montero.
“There’s no excuse pitching that way,” Koehler said. “It was just a combination of of really bad pitching and some really good hitting on their part.”
Other than hitting Didi Gregorius with a pitch, Koehler worked an otherwise clean third inning.
But in the fourth, he ran into immediate trouble by giving up a leadoff bunt to Inciarte and RBI triple by Peralta. It was at that point that Mike Redmond came out to take the ball from Koehler.
“He just didn’t have it,” Redmond said. “He had a tough time throwing his fastball for strikes, he left some pitches out over the plate, and they hammered it.”
The performance for Koehler was a distant cry from his previous start when he earned the win over the Phillies by blanking Philadelphia on three hits over six innings. Monday he came nowhere close to that.
“We gave up five runs in the second inning, so it kind of takes the air out of you,” Redmond said. “We were down so much early, it was tough to recover from.”
It wasn’t any prettier for the Marlins at the plate.
Giancarlo Stanton struck out four times, wearing the “Golden Sombrero” for the seventh time in his career and second time this season.
The Marlins scored their only run on an Adeiny Hechavarria sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Casey McGehee — the league-leader in hits — added to his total with a pair of singles that extended his hitting streak to 14 straight games.
McGehee has now reached base in 31 consecutive games, the third-longest streak of the season in the majors. The only longer such streaks belong to the Brewers’ Carlos Gomez (35 straight games) and Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig (33).
McGehee has also hit safely in 21 straight road games, trailing only the 27-game road hitting streak put together by Luis Castillo in 2002 for the team record.