MIAMI -- Somehow, the Marlins watched the Diamondbacks commit three second-inning errors Saturday and failed to score. They weren't going to let them get away with another bumbling inning unscathed.
Errors four and five came in the seventh and contributed to the unearned run that proved the difference in a 2-1 win at Marlins Park. Starters Henderson Alvarez and Wade Miley each allowed one earned run through seven innings. Miley's defense failed him.
A Mark Trumbo error on a throw over put the go-ahead run on second with no out. With one out, Ozuna on third and the infield in, Miley got the Jeff Mathis grounder he wanted. The Diamondbacks couldn't execute the 6-2 putout. Cliff Pennington's throw was wide and got past catcher Miguel Montero as Ozuna slid home.
"I was going on contact," Ozuna said. "Bad throw, outside and I was able to score easily."
The Pennington error, coupled with two more scoreless innings from the relief staff, helped position the Marlins for a four-game series win and return to .500 with a victory in Sunday's matinee.
The Marlins' offense needed all the charity it could get. Miley struck out nine, two shy of his career high, and gave up just four hits. One of those was a Jeff Baker RBI-triple that made it a 1-1 game in the fourth. Getting the start against the lefty, the right-handed hitting Baker went 1-for-3 and is now 13 for his last 29 with five extra-base hits off left-handers.
"We're in one of those little ruts right now offensively," manager Mike Redmond said. "We're still winning ballgames."
Making his first start since July 29, Alvarez looked a little rusty as each of the first three Diamondbacks' hitters reached on singles. Ozuna kept it a scoreless game when he threw out Ender Inciarte trying to score from second on a David Peralta base.
Crew chief Jerry Meals initiated a review to see if the Marlins were in violation of the now infamous Rule 7.13, but this time New York determined the runner had a lane to slide and the out call stood. Credit Ozuna with his eighth outfield assist.
"It was probably one of the better lanes I've seen," quipped Redmond.
A double steal and Mark Trumbo sacrifice fly later, the Diamondbacks had a 1-0 lead. The Diamondbacks have taken a first-inning lead in each of the first three games of the series. They also scored first in two of the three games the two teams contested at Chase Field last month.
Opponents now are 29-for-89 (.326) with eight RBI in the first inning off Alvarez, who has not allowed a higher batting average in any other inning.
Sitting at 68 pitches through four innings, Alvarez started steamrolling the Diamondbacks' lineup. He got first-pitch outs on three of the nine batters he retired in order during innings five through seven. Only one of those nine saw as many as four pitches during his at-bat. Alvarez needed seven, eight and six pitches to complete the fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.
"In the first inning I couldn't find myself on the mound," Alvarez said. "I was lost. It wasn't me. Thank God I started finding a rhythm. ... The first three innings I was leaving pitches up. I started making the adjustment."
Alvarez in completing seven innings lowered his league-leading home ERA to 1.46. In 14 starts since he gave up five runs (four earned) on May 22 at San Francisco, Alvarez has allowed more than two earned runs once in 14 starts. The result is a stellar 2.43 ERA in 142 2/3 innings.
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