MIAMI -- It was as much of a relief as it was a win for Andrew Cashner, who matched a season high with nine strikeouts on Wednesday night in the Marlins' 6-0 win over the Phillies at Marlins Park.
The right-hander, acquired from the Padres on July 29, hasn't had much go his way in his eight starts and nine appearances since joining Miami. But in 5 1/3 innings on Wednesday, he allowed just four hits, and was able to get some big strikeouts to improve to 1-4 with the Marlins.
"It's kind of been a struggle since I've been over here," the right-hander said. "But we swung the bats with a different lineup tonight. It was good to have some guys back. I knew it was time to get us rolling. We still have a lot of baseball left. There is no telling what we can do. We control our own destiny."
The Marlins snapped their five-game losing streak and moved to within five games of the Mets and Cardinals for the second National Wild Card spot with 22 games remaining.
Miami is starting to get some core players back from injuries. Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour were in the starting lineup together for the first time since July 2, and Cashner was backed by some early run support.
Cashner's other nine-strikeout game came on July 15 against the Giants.
"My sinker was really good tonight," the right-hander said. "I got ahead of a lot of guys. I'd either try to put them away with a fastball up or a slider down in the zone."
A big moment came in the fifth inning with Miami ahead, 2-0, and the Phillies threatening with runners on first and third and two outs. But Aaron Altherr was caught stealing by catcher J.T. Realmuto, with shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria making a lunging tag. The Marlins challenged after Altherr was called safe, and after just 48 seconds, the call was overturned.
"That was a big spot in the game," Cashner said. "J.T. tonight was unreal. When I had a guy at third, all the blocks that he had. I threw some 40-foot sliders there, and [he showed] his ability to keep the ball in front and keep it as a zero."
Cashner's night ended with one out and one on in the sixth, having thrown 102 pitches. Mike Dunn kept the shutout going by getting Freddy Galvis to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play.
"[Cashner] is a guy who is going to use his pitches," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's going to use his breaking ball. He's not going to keep throwing the same pitches in there. He mixed and threw in the strike zone some, elevated some. He did a good job."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.