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Marlins fall to 11 games under with another loss to the Padres

     

          SAN DIEGO – A stubbed big toe kept slugger Mike Stanton out of the lineup on Friday, and the stumbling Marlins limped to a 4-3 defeat to the Padres in a meeting of last-place teams.

With Stanton watching from the bench, Hanley Ramirez and Omar Infante healing on the disabled list, and outfielders Logan Morrison and Chris Coghlan stabled in the minors, the hodgepodge lineup for the Marlins on Friday looked like one they might put on a bus bound for Kissimmee the first week of spring training.

The current collection of Marlins is not a pretty sight at the moment.

Either is their record, which now sits at a season-low 11 games below .500.

“We had all the opportunities in the world to break it open,” said manager Jack McKeon of his noticeably thin lineup, which went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. “That’s the way we’ve been going.”

The Marlins, losers of 13 of their past 15 games, will have Infante back in the lineup on Saturday. Stanton is day-to-day. With only 37 games left, it no longer makes much difference in the grander scheme.

The Marlins are going nowhere. The Padres own an even lousier record than the Marlins, yet have dominated the one-sided season series so far with victories in all five meetings.

Chris Volstad returned to the mound for the Marlins and gave away two leads – 1-0 and 2-1 – en route to his 10th loss. Not that Volstad, with the depleted lineup on his side, received much in the way of run support. It was his own RBI double in the fourth that gave the Marlins a 2-1 lead that turned out to be brief.

Kyle Blanks, slugged a two-run homer off Volstad in the bottom of the fourth that put the Padres on top, 3-2. The Padres stretched their lead to 4-2 on Jason Bartlett’s two-out single, and only a blown call by home plate umpire Larry Vanover kept it from being even greater.

Vanover called the sliding LeBlanc out at the plate on Will Venable’s double, but replays indicated that the Padres pitcher was clearly safe and the crowd of 26,065 voiced their displeasure long after the out was recorded.

“Typical Volstad,” McKeon said. “One or two mistakes and it’s costly.”

LeBlanc’s long gallop from first to home might have removed the wind from sails, as he immediately ran into trouble in the sixth. Jose Lopez opened the inning by reaching on one of his team record-tying three doubles, and the Marlins loaded the bases with one out.

Stanton emerged from the dugout to pinch-hit for Volstad and the Padres changed pitchers, bringing in right-hander Erik Hamren, who struck out Stanton. Stanton is now 0 for 6 in his career as a pinch-hitter.

Hamren walked Emilio Bonifacio to force in one run, but the Marlins couldn’t produce any more than that. Gaby Sanchez went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and has gone 10 straight games without driving in a run.

“Got to get some production out of those guys that we’re counting on,” McKeon said. “If they don’t come through we’re hurting, and we’re hurting.”

The setback left the Marlins with a record of 57-68. They were 11 games under one other time when they lost in Oakland on June 28 to fall to 34-45.

Heath Bell took over in the ninth to close out the victory, recording his 34th save.

 The Marlins optioned infielder Ozzie Martinez to Triple A New Orleans after the game to make room for Infante, who will be activated from the DL on Saturday.

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