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Marlins bring momentum into rubber match vs. Padres

The Miami Marlins, chasing their fifth win in six games, will oppose the visiting San Diego Padres in the deciding game of a three-game series on Thursday afternoon.

San Diego won the opener 9-4 on Tuesday, and Miami rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth inning to stun the Padres in walk-off fashion 2-1 on Wednesday night.

It was Miami’s third walk-off win of the season.

On Thursday, Marlins left-hander Jesus Luzardo (4-3, 3.67 ERA) will go up against San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove (2-2, 5.64).

National Post

Luzardo has yet to beat the Padres, going 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts. In 23 career starts at Miami, Luzardo is 7-8 with a 4.29 ERA.

Musgrove, meanwhile, has had good success against the Marlins, going 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in five career starts, including a 2-1 record with a 3.06 ERA in three starts at Miami.

The Marlins had to be encouraged by the game-tying single produced by third baseman Jean Segura on Wednesday.

Segura, a career .282 hitter and two-time All-Star who is in his first year with the Marlins, had entered the game with a sickly .198 batting average.

“When you are struggling, it seems like the first two pitches are automatic strikes,” Segura said of his slump. “It’s easy to have a smile when things are going well. But it’s hard to have a smile when you are struggling.

“I’m struggling — the numbers show it, but that hit (on Wednesday) gave me some confidence.”

Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said he has not lost faith in Segura, whose 2-for-4 night raised his average to .205.

“He is working hard to fight through this thing,” Schumaker said. “Hard work equals good luck. He’s had some big hits lately. He’s a winning player.

“I’m happy for him because he can now take a deep breath. It’s going to turn. He has to believe in that because we believe in him.”

Meanwhile, the Padres continue to be inconsistent. After scoring those nine runs on Tuesday, they managed just two hits on Wednesday.

One of those hits was a third-inning homer by catcher Gary Sanchez, whom the Padres claimed off waivers from the New York Mets earlier this week.

“You come to a point in the season where you want to at least make incremental upgrades,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said of acquiring Sanchez. “I know (Sanchez) has been through a few teams lately, but he has a history of performing.

“He has a strong arm. He’s got good framing numbers at times. He’s got some power. We’re giving him an opportunity to upgrade the (catching) position.”

The Padres, who have lost three of their past four games, clearly miss Manny Machado. The All-Star third baseman slugged 60 homers and drove in 208 runs over the previous two seasons. He also finished second last year in National League MVP voting.

Machado, who signed an 11-year, $350 million contract extension in February, has been out since breaking his left hand when hit by a pitch on May 15.

Regarding the possible date for his return, Machado said Tuesday that he could return to action later this week.

“I get back, I want to be 100 percent,” he said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “The hand is always something that needs to be 100 percent. I mean, I do everything with it — catch, hit, I gotta have that flick. We hit all day. Everything we do is with our hands. So you want to be able to recover quickly and be 100 percent so that that recovery is not so bad.”

–Field Level Media

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