LOS ANGELES -- Justin Nicolino clamped down the Dodgers with 7 1/3 shutout innings and took home a victory in his first start of 2016, guiding the Marlins to 2-0 victory on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
"Any time you get that call it's an unbelievable feeling," Nicolino said. "I got the call on Monday night and it was official today. I was excited and I was ready to go. I wanted to be here from the get-go. I wanted to just take the ball and run with it. The guys gave me a good opportunity and put some runs on the board in the first inning."
The Marlins got all the runs they needed with a quick rally in the first inning, getting four hits and scoring two in their first five at-bats against Scott Kazmir. Despite that, Kazmir bounced back from a string of rough starts to deliver his best performance since the season's opening week. He didn't allow another run and finished with a quality start, allowing two earned runs in six innings.
"The cutter was good, the fastball command was good," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said about Kazmir. "He started throwing his change later and that was good as well. It was down. He gave us 110 pitches, something like that. He gave us some length tonight, which we needed.
Don Mattingly was ejected in the eighth inning after backing up David Phelps when the reliever argued balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor. Marlins relievers had walked three straight batters, but it ultimately led to zero runs for the Dodgers. It was Mattingly's second ejection of the season; he also was thrown out Friday in San Francisco.
"I'm trying to keep [Phelps] in the game," Mattingly said. "Obviously, it's just an emotional time. He's trying to get that out. Things going on. Guys fighting. Guys are emotional. They want to win. I have no problem with that, other than we've got to keep our emotions in check, and know when we have to stay in the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Nicolino's standout debut: Stepping into Jarred Cosart's rotation spot, Nicolino was calm and collected in his first MLB start of the year. The 24-year-old left-hander was called up from Triple-A New Orleans, and allowed just two hits. It was the longest outing for a Miami starter this year. Before throwing a pitch, Nicolino was staked to a two-run lead. The second hit he allowed was a leadoff single to Justin Turner to open the seventh, but with one out, Howie Kendrick bounced into a 1-4-3 double play. The lefty retired A.J. Ellis on a grounder to second to open the eighth before he was replaced after 99 pitches. More >
"Justin, the way he pitched for us tonight was tremendous," Mattingly said. "He drives the ball in. He's got good mix with his changeup. He used his breaking ball a little bit. To me, he just kept driving the ball in tonight against the righties. Forcing them to see the ball in."
Bases loaded bust: The Dodgers had their best opportunity to tie the game in the eighth when the Marlins walked three straight batters, loading the bases with Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez due up. Nothing came of it though, as Marlins reliever Jose Urena entered the game and sat down five straight Dodger batters to get the long save. More >
"[Urena is] part of our mix. We know he's a power arm," Mattingly said. "We've kind of gotten back to a power mix in the back end of our bullpen with a guy who is anywhere from 95-98 [mph] with a good changeup and his breaking ball is starting to move for him. He's just another power arm in the mix that we're able to use more than one or two guys back there."
Close calls from SeagerCorey Seager needed a moment after fouling a ball hard off his shin in the fifth inning, prompting a visit from Dodgers trainer. However, he nearly tied the game with his next swing, hitting a long fly ball to the center-field warning track with a man on base.
Stanton continues RBI streak:Giancarlo Stanton didn't homer for the first time since Saturday, so his three-game streak knocking the ball out of the park ended Wednesday. But Stanton's broken-bat, RBI single in the first inning extended his string to four straight games driving in at least one run. Stanton had been in a 6-for-40 rut before starting his home run streak Sunday at San Francisco. He now has seven RBIs in the past four games.
"It can be a defining moment. To come out in a situation like that and prove that you can do that. It's going to open up a lot of eyes. It's impressive just going out there and pumping strikes and getting a lot of good hitters out too. I was pumped for him. I was pumped that we get the win there." -- Phelps on Urena working out of jam in eighth and saving it in the ninth.
With one out in the eighth inning, and Stanton on first, J.T. Realmuto tapped to third, and the Dodgers went around the horn, seeking a 5-4-3 double play. After the force at second, Realmuto was called out at first. Miami challenged, and the call was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT MARLINS: Ace Jose Fernandez, off to a 1-2 (4.37 ERA) start, will be on the mound on Thursday at 10:10 p.m. ET in the series finale at Dodger Stadium. The right-hander has 32 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings.
Dodgers:Kenta Maeda will try to continue a historic stretch to begin his MLB career after allowing just one earned run total in his first four starts, good for a 0.36 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT.