SAN DIEGO -- Jeff Mathis' first-inning grand slam gave right-hander Tom Koehler all the run support he needed Tuesday night, as the Marlins downed the Padres, 5-2, at Petco Park.
With two outs and a run already across, Mathis smashed a 3-1 fastball from Padres ace Drew Pomeranz into the left-field seats, putting the Marlins up five before San Diego even came to bat. Koehler took over from there, tossing six quality innings and allowing two runs, while striking out eight to match his season high.
Chris Johnson put Miami on the board with an RBI single to short with the bases full, and Mathis delivered the decisive blow.
"We can't forget Chris Johnson's hit," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "That two-out hit in the hole there really ends up setting that up. You get at least one on the board there. That's what you're thinking. You'd like to get at least one on the board. But then when you get that [grand slam], it's obviously a good start to the game."
The performances of Mathis and Koehler rendered a first-inning protest from Mattingly moot. The Marlins filed a formal protest after a controversial play, in which Christian Yelich was ruled out for leaving the base line on a headfirst slide into first base.
Pomeranz struggled before that call, and he struggled after, as well. The big left-hander couldn't find his control for most of the night, but he managed to get through five frames -- holding Miami scoreless in the last four. It was the second consecutive shaky outing for Pomeranz, who has been good enough to warrant All-Star consideration but saw his ERA jump to 2.88.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki made a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth, but grounded out harmlessly to first base. Ichiro remains 23 hits shy of 3,000 and -- counting the hits he accrued in Japan -- one away from tying Pete Rose's 4,256.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Mathis grand slam: The Marlins entered the road trip without a grand slam. They've now belted two in the past four days. Mathis delivered the big blast in the first inning, putting Miami ahead 5-0. The catcher was hitting .170 with one RBI in 47 at-bats before taking Pomeranz deep to left. It was Mathis' third career grand slam, and his first since June 30, 2013, also against the Padres. Miami's first slam of the season was delivered by Justin Bour on Friday at Arizona. More >
Nice start for Schimpf: Ryan Schimpf, making his big league debut, wasted no time getting into the hits column, as he lined a double into the right-field corner in his first career at-bat. He'd score later in the frame on Alexi Amarista's two-out single. Schimpf finished the night 1-for-4 with a pair of very nice defensive plays at third base.
"It was definitely something I'll never forget for sure… I just tried to stick with my normal routine. It was a little different getting here and getting used to everything, but I just tried to do what I normally do: get ready in the cage and pregame in all that stuff. I just tried to keep it the same, that way nothing took my by surprise, but obviously it's something [where you] get the jitters and all that stuff. But it was definitely a day I'll never forget," Schimpf said.
Koehler minimizes over six: Working with a five-run lead before throwing a pitch, Koehler made it through six innings, allowing two runs on six hits with eight strikeouts. Walks had previously been an issue for Koehler, who from May 13-May 29, had four straight starts walking five each outing. But in his last three starts, he's walked three in 18 innings. Koehler stepped up in the fifth inning, stranding Jon Jay, who led off with a double. The right-hander retired the final six he faced, including striking out Christian Bethancourt to close out the sixth inning.
"It sounds crazy, but sometimes the hardest games to pitch are the ones you have a big lead early," Koehler said. "You have to make sure you stick to your game plan, and not just try to pitch to the score. Because if you start pumping stuff right down the middle, the game can change quickly."
Nice day, Jay: Jay doubled twice, bringing his total on the season to 22 -- tying him for the league lead with Gregory Polanco of Pittsburgh. He also took extra bases away from a pair of Marlins with two nice catches in center -- the first of which was a highlight-reel sliding grab to rob Marcell Ozuna on the warning track in the left-center-field gap.
"[He's] incredibly professional," said Padres skipper Andy Green. "Very mature in his approach at the plate. He's been great all season long, he's been a catalyst for us, he's driven in runs for us, and some really great plays in center field today too." More >
"These kind of games make you nervous. You get early momentum, but aren't able to add on. As they get two, two-out hits. Those can change the game. Momentum changes. We leave them hanging around there. We give them an opportunity for a bad bounce, a big hit, and the game turns around." -- Mattingly on fast start, slow finish.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Matt Kemp's first-inning walk Tuesday was his first since May 11 and his fifth of the season. It came one night after he launched his team-leading 15th homer. Kemp could be on his way to a 30-homer season -- and no player in MLB history has completed a 30-homer season with fewer than 19 free passes. Andres Galarraga hit 31 blasts and walked 19 times in 1994.
It didn't take long for controversy to surface. Three batters into the first inning, Mattingly had a drawn out argument with the umpires after Yelich was called out on a slow roller to first. Wil Myers made the play and made a swipe tag on Yelich, who twisted and dove headfirst into the base to avoid the tag. Yelich was ruled out of the base line, and Mattingly argued. Under Rule 5.09(b)(1), the Marlins filed a formal protest. The play was not reviewable.
"It's hard for me to understand, calling him out of the base line, when all of his marks are within that 45-foot box," Mattingly said. More >
Green challenged the safe ruling on Miguel Rojas' eighth-inning infield single, and replays showed that Schimpf made his barehanded grab-and-throw just in time to beat the runner at first.
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: The Marlins close out their three-city, nine-game road trip on Wednesday at 3:40 p.m. ET. Left-hander Justin Nicolino (2-3, 4.76) gets the start. Nicolino, who has never faced the Padres, is 1-1 (4.63) on the road.
Padres: Taking the rotation spot of an ailing Andrew Cashner (neck strain), Rule 5 selection Luis Perdomo gets the ball Wednesday afternoon, making his third start. Perdomo tossed 5 2/3 solid innings in relief of Cashner on Friday night in Colorado. First pitch is set for 12:40 p.m. PT.