CHICAGO -- Without much fanfare, Tom Koehler keeps finding a way.
No matter the opponent or ballpark, the Marlins' right-hander is piecing together a noteworthy season. Not even a hot Cubs team or the boisterous Wrigley Field crowd could slow him down on Friday in Miami's 2-1 win.
"That's three straight quality starts by him," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "He's General Patton. He's blood and guts. He just comes out there and gives it to you every day, all he's got. And he competes. He battles for every time you put him out there. He's fun to watch."
Winners of four straight, the mood is definitely getting lighter around the Marlins. Never short on one-liners, Jennings went to his World War II talking points book for the Gen. George C. Patton reference.
"He's got bunch of one-liners up his sleeve," Koehler said. "I don't know if he writes them down at night, hoping we get a victory. But he's got some interesting ones."
Koehler's six-inning performance was workmanlike, as the right-hander gave up one run on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He got the win over Jason Hammel, who has a 2.89 ERA.
Koehler, now 7-4 with a 3.52 ERA, is stepping up in nail-biters. He's won three straight one-run decisions against some top-shelf starters. The streak started at home against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees in a 2-1 win. In his last outing, Miami clipped Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, 3-2.
"Every time he goes out, he's going to give you a chance to win," Jennings said.
The Marlins (35-46) are striving to get close to .500 by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
They have a ways to go, but they are starting to track better behind strong starting pitching.
"I think guys are just starting to come into their own," Koehler said. "Now, we're 13, 14 starts in with [catcher] J.T. [Realmuto], too. So everything kind of helps. The more time you spend with each other, the better off. Dan [Haren] has been helping out guys a lot with scouting reports and just how to handle certain situations. I know he wouldn't want to admit it. But he's been huge for us, a huge asset.
"I hope that continues. We're a talented club. We might not have shown it early, but there still is a lot of season left."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.