MIAMI -- For the second straight game, reliever Dustin McGowan was pivotal in a Marlins win over the Rockies.
McGowan was thrusted into Saturday's 9-6 victory at Marlins Park in the third inning when Wei-Yin Chen surrendered six runs and exited after a career-low 2 1/3 innings. Charged with freezing the Rockies' offense, McGowan induced two quick outs and didn't allow a hit over 2 2/3 relief frames.
"When you come in in that situation, the whole key is to keep the score where it is and give the offense a chance," McGowan said. "[Our offense] scored the first two innings, so I pretty much knew they were swinging the bats well."
Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto said McGowan's performance was huge in terms of shifting the game's momentum. On cue, Justin Bour homered in the bottom half of the frame to pull Miami within one and put the club right back in it.
"That team over there, once they get going, they can hit," Realmuto said. "Once they get confidence and get rolling, it's tough to stop that. It was huge for McGowan to come in and stop that."
McGowan has maintained a string of solid outings of late. He tossed the final inning of the Marlins' one-hitter on Friday. Last Sunday in Arizona, he hurled three innings of one-hit ball. Over McGowan's last 7 2/3 innings spanning four outings, he has surrendered no runs and just one hit.
"Mac, again, he's done this a couple of times," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He ate innings in Arizona. That was really good. He kind of saved the bullpen on that day. He comes in last night to keep A.J. [Ramos] fresh, and then today, we needed him early, and he gave us 2 2/3 there."
Over the last two games, Marlins relievers have stifled the Rockies to the tune of one hit through 10 scoreless innings. McGowan said the bullpen's current success will help the club later in the season.
The 34-year-old right-hander, who was designated for assignment on April 17 before having his contract selected again on May 11, picked up his first win as a Marlin and first in the Majors since April 11, 2015, as a member of the Phillies.
"If we're gonna get battled tested, might as well get it out of the way early," McGowan said. "It makes it better for later on when the time comes and you need to get through a tough one and you've already been through it."
Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.