LOS ANGELES (AP) — One costly fielding error by second baseman Dee Gordon led to five unearned runs in a six-run second inning by the Miami Marlins against Paul Maholm.
Two innings later, the Marlins got six more – and by the time the ninth inning rolled around, backup catcher Drew Butera was on the mound in a mopup role. He retired the side 1-2-3, giving the few remaining fans at Dodger Stadium something to smile about in a 13-3 loss.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had already used five relievers and didn’t want to waste another one in the ninth. So Butera made his second appearance as a big league pitcher, retiring Christian Yelish in a flyball to center and Ed Lucas on a grounder to second before striking out Marcell Ozuna.
Butera’s other appearance was May 20, 2012, for Minnesota at Milwaukee, when he threw a scoreless inning.
“We were down, obviously, and it’s not a situation we wanted to be in,” Butera said. “Donnie asked me if I wouldn’t mind doing it, and I said `Sure. Anything to help the team.’ He asked me if I had ever pitcher before and I told him I had. It was very similar – I was a nervous wreck.”
Butera couldn’t have been more edgy than Marlins right-hander Anthony DeSclafani was before his big league debut, but the run support helped him relax considerably. He allowed two runs and seven hits over seven innings after getting staked to a 12-0 lead. He also had a single and drove in two runs.
“Run support obviously helps,” the 24-year-old DeSclafani said. “But I was just so focused on trying to pound the strike zone, make sure I made quality pitches and didn’t let anything get away from me.”
DeSclafani, the Marlins’ minor league pitcher of the year last season, was 3-4 with a 4.19 ERA in eight starts at Double-A Jacksonville. He was inserted into the rotation after Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a torn ligament in his elbow and became another high-profile candidate for Tommy John surgery.
“When I got the phone call, I took a big gulp and I couldn’t even breathe,” DeSclafani said. “It hasn’t sunk in. I mean, it’s such an unreal moment. I can’t believe I got the win, can’t believe I’m in L.A., and that I’m pitching against the Dodgers.
“It still hasn’t hit me. I can’t believe I was facing the Dodger lineup, going from Jacksonville to the big leagues. I wasn’t expecting a callup. I was just trying to control my nerves. It was cool to throw the way I did, get a win and get the Marlins a win.”
Ed Lucas homered during the Marlins’ second-inning rally, and the Marlins got two more homers in the fourth – a two-run shot by Reed Johnson and a three-run drive by Jeff Mathis.
The Marlins hit three homers in a game for the second time this year, including a 5-4 win over the Dodgers on May 4 at Miami. Lucas, Johnson and Mathis came in with a combined total of two home runs in 86 at-bats – and 12 in 792 at-bats since the start of last season. Johnson’s other one this year came as a pinch-hitter against Brian Wilson in Monday’s series opener.
Former Dodger Randy Wolf allowed one run over the final three innings for the save, the same day the 37-year-old left-hander exercised the out clause in his minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and signed a one-year deal with the Marlins.
Maholm (1-4) was charged with 10 runs – five earned – and 11 hits in 3 2-3 innings, raising his ERA from 4.71 to 5.40. Batterymate A.J. Ellis, reinstated from the disabled list after missing 34 games because of an injured left knee that required arthroscopic surgery, was 0 for 4 in his eighth game of the season.
Gordon’s error was the Dodgers’ 36th in 42 games this season, accounting for 24 unearned runs – tying them with Cleveland for second-most allowed in the majors behind Philadelphia’s 28.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating,” Maholm said. “I think that’s a play that Dee makes almost every time, but there’s no guarantee we turn two. As a pitcher, you do your best to minimize the damage. You continue to battle, try to make your pitches and let the guys make the plays behind you. For me, it’s more frustrating not being able to get a strikeout when I needed it.”
Yasiel Puig drove in the Dodgers’ first run with a double in the fifth, extending his career-best hitting streak to 14 games. Carl Crawford homered and Andre Ethier had an RBI single.
NOTES: The Dodgers were 18-16 during Ellis’ absence with a 3.30 team ERA, while their pitchers averaged 8.26 strikeouts per nine innings with Butera, Miguel Olivo and Tim Federowicz behind the plate. Olivo was optioned on Wednesday to Triple-A Albuquerque, where Federowicz has been since getting optioned out on April 30. … According to Scott Boras, the agent for Fernandez, his client has yet to commit to Tommy John surgery – which team physician Lee Kaplan recommended on Tuesday to repair the torn ligament in the 21-year-old’s right elbow. “I think he’s got to walk through some steps before he makes a decision,” Boras said. … Miami RF Giancarlo Stanton had three hits, extending his hitting streak to 16 games.