SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jesús Luzardo threw a two-hit shutout over six innings and Jorge Soler hit his 33rd homer of the season to lead the Miami Marlins to a 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night in a matchup of National League wild-card hopefuls.
“We needed this, he needed it as well,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said of the win for his team and Luzardo. “Gosh, his fastball was electric tonight with his slider. He didn't walk guys, on the attack against a good lineup who hits lefties.”
The Marlins (62-52) entered the game having lost five of their last six games and moved five games ahead of the Padres (60-67) in the race for a wild-card spot. The teams play the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday.
Luzardo (9-8) effectively mixed his upper 90-mph fastball with a slider and change-up, working six innings and giving up no runs and two hits while striking out seven.
“Thankfully my change-up for me I feel like is my equalizer, I am able to use it in certain counts,” Luzardo said. “Just the mentality I took into the game I feel like was different than the last couple of starts maybe. Just felt like I should attack the zone and whatever happens, happens at that point.”
Andrew Nardi, Tanner Scott and closer David Robertson each pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Robertson earned his 18th save.
“So they pitched well tonight; they did. But we think we can hit a few more balls, and it just didn’t happen for us,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “I think with the guys that we have, maybe (there is) trying to do a little bit too much and be that guy. But we just didn’t have enough baserunners to really put any pressure on them tonight.”
Padres starter Blake Snell (10-9) came in as the MLB leader in ERA (2.65), but was roughed up in the third, giving up three runs. Soler hit a mammoth 442-foot solo homer off a 97.3-mph fastball to center field.
“I knew it was a long one. I didn't see the whole thing, but at the end I saw it and it felt really far away,” Soler said when asked about his monstrous home run. “I was hoping and waiting for that fastball.”
Later in the Marlins’ third, Luis Arraez scored from second after an infield single by Jake Burger, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and a throwing error by Padres’ shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Avisail Garcia followed with a ground out that scored Josh Bell from third, giving the Marlins a 3-0 lead.
“I let my emotions get the best of me. Gave them good pitches to hit,” Snell said.
Miami appeared on the way to a bigger inning, but the Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. made a spectacular play on a single to right-field by Jazz Chisholm Jr.. He scooped the ball up at full-speed and tossed a strike to catcher Gary Sanchez, who tagged Burger out at the plate to end the third. Tatis did his trademark move of putting his imaginary gun in the holster after the out.
The loss snaps Snell’s streak of wins in his previous four decisions, dating to July 25. Snell lasted six innings, giving up three runs and six hits while striking out eight.
“We have not also been able to follow up good games with good games after that,” Melvin said of the Padres frustrations. “We just have not had good late-inning at-bats. It’s gone on most of the year. ... It was a strength last year, it has not been this year.”