MILWAUKEE -- The Marlins didn't hit their hotel beds in downtown Milwaukee until dawn on Friday after losing their sparkplug to a stunning suspension out west. Blindsided and bleary-eyed, Adam Conley & Co. provided something to celebrate.
It was not quite a no-hitter, or even a shutout. But even a nail-biting 6-3 win Friday night over the Brewers at Miller Park represented a lift for a Miami team playing its first game without suspended second baseman Dee Gordon.
Conley, the 25-year-old left-hander pitching in his 20th Major League game, walked four batters, struck out seven and threw a career-high 116 pitches without allowing a hit before manager Don Mattingly called for Jose Urena with two outs in the eighth. Urena carried the no-hitter into the ninth, when Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy broke it up with a one-out single that floated past second baseman Derek Dietrich's outstretched glove.
"I knew he couldn't finish," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We weren't going to let him finish. That was really easy, actually. If he had an easy inning there, an eight- or nine-pitch inning, we probably would think about it. But when he gets to that point, you know he's not going to be able to finish the game. This kid has a chance to be really special, so there's no way, at this point in the season, that we're going to let him go to 130 [pitches]."
Would the speedy Gordon have caught Lucroy's bloop in the ninth? The Marlins had no time to debate, because the Brewers suddenly mounted a three-run rally that prompted a call for A.J. Ramos. The closer walked the first two men he faced to bring Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar to the plate representing the winning run.
Ramos won the battle, striking out Villar for save No. 7 in seven chances. The Marlins have won six straight games.
Most of the Marlins' offense came from first baseman Justin Bour, whose three-run home run off Brewers starter Zach Davies in the first inning gave Conley a lead before he stepped on the mound. Bour homered twice in the game and finished with five RBIs.
"That was a battle, and we were able to break it up there in the ninth and put some runs up," Lucroy said. "We had the winning run up there in the ninth, and that's all we can ask. We just couldn't get it done there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Escape act: Conley appeared ready to break in the fourth inning, when the Brewers loaded the bases with nobody out on an error charged to shortstop Miguel Rojas and a pair of walks. But Conley not only kept his shutout intact, he preserved the no-hitter, too, by striking out Lucroy on a 94-mph fastball and inducing a double-play grounder from Chris Carter.
"I'm not thinking after that fourth inning, 'Oh, man. You might throw a no-hitter tonight,'" Conley said. "I was in trouble there. I walked two guys and had another guy reach by error. The bases were loaded with nobody out. My mind wasn't going to how I'm going to throw a no-hitter. I'm trying to get deep into this game and give us a chance to win. It was after I got through the fifth that I started to settle down and get more consistent with the secondary stuff." More >
Triple the pleasure: While Conley cruised, Davies scuffled to get through five innings. His defenders helped out in the top of the fifth, when third baseman Aaron Hill, second baseman Yadiel Rivera and first baseman Carter combined to turn the seventh triple play in franchise history on a Marcell Ozuna ground ball. It was the Brewers' first triple play since August 2011.
"It was kind of a tailor-made one," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. More >
Breaking out: After hitting just one home run over his first 70 plate appearances, Bour clobbered two Friday. His three-run blast with two outs in the first inning put the Marlins up 3-0, while a solo blast in the sixth inning made it 5-0. Bour also added an RBI double in the third inning as part of a career-high five RBIs.
"He had good at-bats all night," Mattingly said. "He's been a little off and on; he showed some signs of getting really hot, then he kind of went the other direction a little bit, but tonight, he was big. We gave Giancarlo [Stanton] the night off, so we needed something like that."
Making history:Ichiro Suzuki racked up two more milestones Friday. First, the 42-year-old collected his 2,944th hit to pass Frank Robinson for 33rd on the all-time hits list. Ichiro then stole second base for his 500th career stolen base. He's just the eighth player in Major League history with at least 2,900 hits and 500 stolen bases. More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Mattingly unsuccessfully challenged a play at third base in the top of the third inning. With one out and runners on second and third, Bour laced a double into the gap in left-center field. Martin Prado scored on the play, but Ozuna received a late stop sign from third-base coach Lenny Harris. Left fielder Ryan Braun's throw was cut off by second baseman Rivera, who threw to third baseman Hill for the out. The out call by third-base umpire Tony Randazzo stood after a review of one minute and 52 seconds.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins:Wei-Yin Chen will try for his fourth consecutive quality start when he faces the Brewers at 7:10 p.m. ET on Saturday. The left-hander has a 3.15 ERA over 20 innings in three starts since allowing five runs over five innings on Opening Day.
Brewers:Chase Anderson will try to rebound from a pair of poor starts when he takes the mound against the Marlins on Saturday, beginning at 6:10 p.m. CT. Anderson didn't allow an earned run in either of his first two Brewers starts, but has surrendered 10 earned runs over nine innings in his two most recent outings. All three of his career starts against the Marlins have been quality starts.