Eovaldi endures another tough-luck loss

Eovaldi endures another tough-luck loss

MIAMI -- The Marlins celebrated the 10th anniversary of their 2003 World Series championship on Sunday afternoon, but Scott Kazmir spoiled the occasion.

The left-hander shut down Miami in Cleveland's 2-0 win in front of 25,077 at Marlins Park. The defeat dropped Miami to 4-10 in Interleague Play.

"We just couldn't get anything going offensively," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "That's it. I don't really know what else to say."

Kazmir's gem overshadowed a stellar effort from Nathan Eovaldi, who gave up one run on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts in a season-high seven frames. Eovaldi's outing was his eighth quality start in nine tries.

"Eovaldi did a great job pounding the strike zone," Redmond said. "He made a couple of mistakes up in the zone with a couple offspeed pitches, but he did what we needed him to do."

But the Marlins couldn't do much for Eovaldi. They have failed to score a run while the righty is in the game in his past four outings. Miami had scored seven runs in Eovaldi's win against Washington on July 12.

"It's one inning at a time, one batter at a time," Eovaldi said. "Just trying to attack and just put up zeroes, really. If we score runs, that's good. I just hope we win the game."

Despite the lack of run support, Eovaldi rode the strength of his fastball to a stellar outing. He touched 100 mph on his four-seam fastball twice against Jason Giambi in his final inning.

Eovaldi's fastball was especially impressive. He touched 100 mph on his four-seamer twice against Jason Giambi in his final inning.

"I was locating my fastball today, and I felt a lot better with my location today than the last game," Eovaldi said. "With a runner on second and third and one out, he's coming up to pinch-hit. If he's going to beat me, I want to get beat with my best stuff. I was trying to just locate the ball and give him my best."

The Marlins could not get anything going against Kazmir, who surrendered only two hits in six scoreless innings. Kazmir has lowered his ERA from 5.89 to 3.89 in nine starts since June 15.

"He was good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He used his fastball really aggressively, because he didn't have his best slider today. But once he got the fastball going, and kind of sped their bats up, he used his changeup. I thought he was really good."

Redmond added: "He had good fastball command. We swung at a lot of pitches. We came out aggressive. We didn't hit a lot of balls hard, but we came out aggressive. He moved the ball in and out like he always has, and he pitched. He pitched well. We just never got anything going."

Kazmir walked a pair, but Miami failed to take advantage of some opportunities against the southpaw.

Ed Lucas reached scoring position with a one-out ground-rule double in the first. The ball went over the head of Indians left fielder Michael Brantley and got stuck underneath the padding of the left-field wall.

But the Marlins stranded Lucas on a Giancarlo Stanton popout to shallow center field and a Logan Morrison strikeout.

Stanton is batting just .050 (1-for-20) with four walks since Tuesday. His average has dipped from .262 to .245 during that span.

"I'm watching him for the first time this year. It seems he's gotten hot, but just hasn't really been able to sustain it," Redmond said. "The times he's kind of gone into some funks, they've been some sustained funks for more than three or four games.

"So, I mean, he's just got to keep plugging along. Obviously, we need him. When he hits, he changes our lineup. That's just the facts."

Said Stanton: "You have your ups and downs. You've just got to overcome them somehow, eventually."

The bottom of Miami's order got something going in the third when Jeff Mathis drew a leadoff walk, but the catcher was picked off by fellow backstop Yan Gomes with Eovaldi at the plate.

"He gets over there and slides behind the runner, and Gomes comes up throwing," Francona said. "Things like that get me excited. That's not easy to get all the way over there."

Eovaldi walked to give Miami another chance, but Christian Yelich and Lucas could not come through, ending the threat with a flyout to left and a lineout to second, respectively.

Yelich did come through in the sixth with a one-out single to left field, extending his hitting streak to a season-best five games. The base hit was the Marlins' first since Lucas' first-inning double.

But Miami again faltered with men on base, ending the inning on back-to-back strikeouts by Lucas and Stanton.

The Marlins showed some life in the bottom of the seventh once Kazmir left the game. Logan Morrison and Adeiny Hechavarria singled against Bryan Shaw to put two runners on with one out.

But Shaw got out of trouble by striking out the side, fanning Jake Marisnick and Mathis to end the inning unscathed.

Another failed opportunity proved costly in the eighth when Chad Qualls, who made his first career appearance against the Indians, gave up an insurance run on a Michael Brantley RBI single with two outs.

Seventeen of Miami's past 19 games have been decided by three runs or fewer. The Marlins are 8-9 in those games, including two straight losses.

"We've been in a lot of close games lately," Eovaldi said. "[Saturday] night was a close game. ... They're a great hitting team. They're close right behind Detroit in that division. We're hanging with them.

"I feel like good things will come for us. It's just all coming together as a team, and we can compete with anybody."

Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.