Marlins treating stretch run as their playoffs

Miami ends six-game losing streak Saturday against Brewers

Marlins treating stretch run as their playoffs

MILWAUKEE -- From watching their playoff hopes fade away to watching South Florida get hit hard by Hurricane Irma, there have been few positives for the Marlins over the past few weeks.

Miami approached its three-game "home" set at Miller Park as a chance to turn things around to finish the season strong. While the Marlins are all but eliminated from playoff contention, the Brewers are still fighting with 14 games to play.

After dropping its sixth straight game Friday, Miami delivered a significant blow to Milwaukee's hopes with a 7-4 victory Saturday.

"We talked this thing up like it's the playoffs for us," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

Miami was 66-63 and moved right into the thick of the National League Wild Card hunt after a 6-2 win over San Diego on Aug. 27. But the Marlins went 2-16 over their next 18 games.

With the Brewers selling 19,369 tickets on Friday when the allotment was originally slated for 10,000 and 25,079 tickets on Saturday, Mattingly admitted the ballpark having more juice had the Marlins playing with more energy.

"Human nature," Mattingly said before Saturday's win. "When you have two teams that are out of it playing Game 140 or something, it is not always a high-energy game. You want guys to push their way through and be professionals during that and have pride in the game and for the fans that come to see it, but this is a lot easier when you have people that are enthused.

"It was loud. You could feel the noise. I thought our guys really played like that."

While the Marlins played spoiler by beating the Brewers, who are four games back in the National League Central and 3 1/2 games behind for the second Wild Card spot entering Sunday's series finale, Miami is more focused on finishing its season strong.

"We're not trying to spoil," Marlins second baseman Derek Dietrich said. "We're just trying to win games. They are trying to do the same thing. We're just trying to see what we are made of and what we got. We're trying to play for some wins. Regardless of what the number says at the end of the season, just try to play to win the baseball game."

The Marlins, who scored three runs in their previous three games going into Saturday, produced a four-run first inning off Brewers right-hander Zach Davies, who entered as one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.

The offense added three more runs throughout the night, Adam Conley produced a start that was better than his final line showed and the bullpen bouced back from a shaky Friday night to hold the lead.

"It hasn't really clicked the way we've wanted it to these last 10 games or maybe a little longer, but a win is a win," Dietrich said. "Hopefully this can kind of get us going in the right direction. We've been treating it as just trying to win a series.

"Honestly, this is a good team. This team has a chance to play in the playoffs. We're just trying to play our best ball against a good team."

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Marlins on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.