Jesus Luzardo felt the inning beginning to get away from him. The Miami Marlins’ left-handed pitcher had gotten two quick outs in the bottom of the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels, needing just one more out to keep cruising early in his start Friday.
And then Gio Urshela hit a single to left. And then Luis Rengifo doubled to right. And then Luzardo walked Chad Wallach on six pitches. Bases loaded.
“I felt that inning starting to spiral,” Luzardo said.
But Luzardo composed himself before facing Angels rookie Zach Neto.
And then he fired off four consecutive sliders, with Neto whiffing on three for an inning-ending strikeout.
Luzardo got out of the jam and, despite some shaky command at times, settled down the rest of his outing in the Marlins’ 6-2 win to start a three-game series at Angel Stadium.
His outing was cut short due to an elevated pitch count, but Luzardo still held the Angels to just one run over five innings. He minimized damage despite giving up seven hits and a walk and also struck out seven batters.
Six of the seven strikeouts came on his slider, which has been the pitch he has used to record 36 of his 70 strikeouts overall this season.
“The slider was working pretty well,” Luzardo said. “I leaned heavily on that.”
On the season, Luzardo has a 3.67 ERA through his first 11 starts. He has pitched at least five innings and held opponents to three runs or fewer in five of his past six starts and in eight outings overall.
“Every start is a learning lesson,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “I think he just continues to learn and and understand how good of a player he really is and how good of a pitcher he really is.”
This and that
▪ The Marlins have logged at least 11 hits in each of their past six games. That’s the longest such streak in franchise history. The previous best mark was five games, done three other times (June 10-14, 2009; July 18-23, 2005; and Aug. 13-18, 2000).
▪ Outfielder/designated hitter Jorge Soler has hit a home run in four consecutive games. Only the Chicago Cubs’ Christopher Morel and St. Louis Cardinals’ Nolan Arenado have a longer streak this season, with each having hit home runs in five consecutive games. The Marlins’ franchise record is six, set by Giancarlo Stanton in 2017.