The Miami Marlins got a lift from their pitching staff to get back on track in their most recent series.
They may be hoping their ace took some notes.
Josh Johnson seeks his first victory of the season as visiting Miami looks to end an eight-game losing streak to the San Diego Padres in the opener of a three-game set Friday night.
Miami (11-14) had lost eight of its previous nine games heading into its series with San Francisco, but the pitching staff posted a 1.61 ERA to help sweep the set.
"To come here and win all three games was great for us,' said Jose Reyes, who had an RBI single. "We're playing good as a team now. We just need to learn from the three wins we had here and continue to play together as a team.'
Manager Ozzie Guillen, though, wasn't as happy with a Marlins offense that managed only eight runs in the series and is hitting .197 with runners in scoring position this season.
"There are a lot of opportunities and we're not taking advantage,' Guillen said. "If we continue like that, the pitching staff is going to break down sooner or later."
Johnson (0-3, 5.34 ERA), the Marlins' opening day starter, knows what it's like to receive little assistance - his 1.26 run support average is the NL's worst.
He hasn't helped himself much either, though. Johnson allowed five runs and 10 hits - the third time he's allowed at least that many - over 5 1-3 innings of an 8-4 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
"I threw some pitches, but I was just inconsistent," Johnson told the team's official website. "I was hoping I could stay away from that. But some pitches I felt like were pretty good (became hits). It's part of it. You've got to keep battling."
Johnson is 1-2 with a 2.60 ERA in four career starts against San Diego, allowing five runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-4 loss in his most recent start versus the Padres on Aug. 1, 2010.
San Diego (9-17) has won eight straight and 13 of the last 15 over the Marlins. The Padres will look to extend that streak with help from Anthony Bass (1-3, 2.30), who has shined as a starter.
After coming out of the bullpen for two appearances, Bass has made four consecutive starts because of injuries to Tim Stauffer and Dustin Moseley. He allowed two runs and six hits and pitched all eight innings in Saturday's 2-1 loss at San Francisco.
The right-hander struck out eight and retired the first 17 hitters.
"He's evolved from throwing to a pitcher," catcher Nick Hundley told the team's official website. "He was a guy who first would rear back and throw it, to a pitcher -- a guy who is using all of his pitches. He's quickly improving."
Bass has pitched four scoreless innings over two career relief appearances against the Marlins.
He'll look to continue a trend of solid starts after Edinson Volquez and Jeff Suppan helped San Diego earn back-to-back shutouts to take two of three from Milwaukee.
The Padres, who have yet to win three straight, beat the Brewers 2-0 on Tuesday and 5-0 on Wednesday, when former Marlin Cameron Maybin drove in two runs.
San Diego has won five straight meetings at home.
The Associated Press News Service
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