MIAMI -- Strong starting pitching has been the constant in the Marlins' four-game winning streak. On Saturday, it was Tom Koehler's turn to set the tempo, and the right-hander did, tossing 7 1/3 innings in Miami's 8-0 victory over the Nationals at Marlins Park.
In each of the four games, the Marlins have received a quality start. The starters' collective ERA is 1.01, allowing three runs in 26 2/3 innings.
"When things are going good, you want to keep it going," Koehler said. "We had a rough stretch where we all kind of struggled a little bit, some more than others. I think everyone is starting to get their footing now."
The Marlins are turning the tide after starting off 3-11. They're now 7-11, even with the Nationals.
The Marlins certainly have needed quality starting pitching, because they've been matched against some tough starters. During their winning streak, they've won games in which the Phillies started their ace, Cole Hamels, and the Nationals had Jordan Zimmermann on Friday and Stephen Strasburg on Saturday.
"I touched on it earlier, how important the pitching is," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "Tommy went out there and set the tone. He pitched great, executed his pitches. To get deep into games is important for him. Sometimes that's a learning process, an experience thing. To be able to pitch past that sixth inning. The only way to do that is to go out there and get it done. Today, he got it done."
Saturday was the 60th big league start for Koehler, and the 7 1/3 innings is his fourth longest outing. Three times he's gone as deep as eight innings.
Koehler also had a bounce-back outing after he gave up seven runs in the fourth inning at the Mets on Sunday.
"Each game is its own little entity," Koehler said. "Sometimes you're going strike guys out, sometimes you're going get hit. Sometimes you're going to get a lot of ground balls. You just got to be able to make those peaks and valleys emotionally not too far apart."
The Marlins backed Koehler with solid defense. In the sixth inning, second baseman Dee Gordon made a nice stop up the middle to rob Ryan Zimmerman of a likely RBI single.
"I told Dee, 'you saved Tommy right there,' " Redmond said.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.