Marlins reward Eovaldi for sharp debut

Marlins reward Eovaldi for sharp debut

Marlins reward Eovaldi for sharp debut
MIAMI -- Nathan Eovaldi started his Marlins career with a victory.

The right-hander shined in his Miami debut as the Marlins beat the Padres, 4-2, before 26,401 at Marlins Park on Saturday night.

"It's great," Eovaldi said. "I worked ahead a lot. Me and [catcher John] Buck got on the same page early in the game, and they made great plays behind me."

Eovaldi allowed just one run on five hits over 5 1/3 innings in his first start as a Marlin. Acquired from the Dodgers in Wednesday's trade for Hanley Ramirez, the 22-year-old struck out five Padres and picked up a hit in his first Miami at-bat.

"He pitched well," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think he's got a good arm. You can see he is still a baby and still needs polish, but I love the arm. His presence on the mound is very good. He's not scared to throw any pitch in any count, and that will help him."

San Diego manager Bud Black never saw Eovaldi when he was with the Dodgers, but the former big league pitcher was impressed with how Eovaldi handled himself against the Padres.

"First time we've seen him live," Black said. "Good live arm, up to 97 [mph]. Good overhand hook. Cut the ball in there in the high 90s. He's got a good arm, 22 years old. He's fresh, he's young [with] good stuff, four pitches. He's a nice-looking young pitcher."

While Eovaldi's performance impressed the crowd at Marlins Park, Buck was most impressed by how the young pitcher carried himself while preparing for the start.

"One thing that stood out for me today happened as we went over our game plan," Buck said. "I was telling [pitching coach] Randy [St. Claire], 'The only other person that I've had that was that young and had an idea of what he wanted to do -- whether it was right or wrong, he had an idea of what he wanted to do -- was probably Zack Greinke.' He was able to go out and execute it. For a young guy, that is a big step that usually takes a while to have the confidence to know what they want to do with a lineup. He's 22 and he started with that already."

The Marlins gave Eovaldi run support early as Carlos Lee drove in Emilio Bonifacio with a two-out single in the first. Lee, who went 2-for-3, collected his second straight multi-hit game.

Jose Reyes added to the lead in the third when he crushed a two-run shot just inside the right-field foul pole. Justin Ruggiano snapped a 0-for-8 streak with a solo homer to lead off the seventh. Beyond ending Ruggiano's hitless streak, the homer also snapped a nine-game streak of the Marlins scoring three runs or fewer.

"We did today what we've been missing for a long time, and that's get big hits," Guillen said. "I think Reyes is playing better baseball right now, and that helps. If we don't have the big hits, we lose the game. We did it today and that's what we've been missing."

While the Marlins' offense improved, the Padres struggled. Yonder Alonso doubled in a run in the sixth, while Yasmani Grandal drove home a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. San Diego was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.

David Villavicencio is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.