ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Anibal Sanchez has been a bright spot in what has been a miserable season for the Florida Marlins. Except when the right-hander has pitched in Texas.
Sanchez's season team record streak of 14 consecutive starts without a loss came to a screeching halt Friday night when he gave up seven runs in less than four innings in a 15-5 loss to the Texas Rangers.
``He's a better pitcher than that. You could see he wasn't in tune tonight,' Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. ``He doesn't generally walk anybody. He got behind guys, walked guys, nibbled with them and missed with his breaking ball.'
The only other loss for Sanchez (6-2) this season was April 10 at Houston when he gave up six runs and 13 hits in 4 2-3 innings, in his second start.
While Sanchez was getting knocked around by the Rangers, the Marlins didn't even have a base runner against Alexi Ogando (8-3) until Hanley Ramirez drew a walk leading off the fifth. They finally got a hit when Greg Dobbs singled to right with two outs, though Ramirez got stranded at third base when John Buck struck out to end the inning.
``We were certainly overmatched by their pitcher,' McKeon said. ``He had some good stuff. We weren't about to touch him. I sat in the dugout and said, 'We may witness a no-hitter.' That's how good he was early.'
Florida finally scored after three consecutive hits to start the seventh, including an RBI double by Logan Morrison and a run-scoring single by Mike Stanton.
Sanchez hasn't won since June 10 against Arizona despite allowing only four runs over 20 innings his previous three starts. He was without a decision in those games, all one-run losses by the Marlins. Florida lost 2-1 in each of his last two starts after a 10-inning loss began that stretch.
After the Marlins intentionally walked reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton with two outs in the fourth to load the bases, Adrian Beltre hit a two-run double to right to give Texas a 7-0 lead and chase Sanchez.
``I don't know what happened. Nothing good happened,' Sanchez said. ``Because of the situation we're in, I don't want to lose the game.'
The Marlins, the last-place team in the NL East, finished June with a 5-23 record. They had won three of their last five games, but went back to their losing ways to start July even with their best healthy starter on the mound.
Sanchez came up short of Brad Penny's team record of 17 consecutive starts without a loss, a streak he had between July 2000 and May 2001.
McKeon said the Marlins are calling up left-hander Brad Hand from Double-A Jacksonville to start Saturday. Right-hander Ryan Webb will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
That is the rotation spot that has been filled by different players since ace right-hander Josh Johnson when on the disabled list in May because of right shoulder inflammation. Johnson, out since May 16, isn't expected to rejoin the Marlins until after the All-Star break.
Texas went from being shut out Thursday night at Houston to scoring a season-high 15 runs, matching the most scored against Florida this season.
Nelson Cruz had six RBIs, including a three-run homer and a three-run triple, on his 31st birthday. Beltre drove in four runs with three hits.
``When you're down seven or eight runs against (Ogando), you might as well head for the closest restaurant and have a good dinner,' McKeon said. ``It was one of those games you run across occasionally. You get the hell beat out of you. Some night we'll do the same to somebody else. I don't know when. Hopefully soon.'
Brett Hayes hit a two-out solo homer in the ninth for the Marlins, who then added two more runs on two more hits and an error.
The only other time the Marlins played at Rangers Ballpark was 2003, when McKeon was also their manager.
McKeon, now 80, became the Florida manager again last week, and the Marlins are 4-6 since.
Back in 1963, McKeon managed the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers, a Triple-A team for the Minnesota Twins. That was nine seasons before the major league Rangers came into existence when the Washington Senators moved their franchise to the Lone Star State.
Before the game at Rangers Ballpark, where the dugouts have air conditioning, McKeon recalled managing minor league games in the area when there was no such luxury even in the clubhouses or dugouts where they played.
Though the temperature was near 100 degrees, even prompting Rangers president Nolan Ryan to talk about how hot it was, McKeon walked about 2 1/2 miles around the field about five hours before the game.
Notes: Florida is 4-9 against Texas. ... The Marlins are 3-4 on their road trip, that included three ``home' games played in Seattle last weekend because of a scheduling conflict. ... While managing in the Twins organization in the late 1960s and early 1970s, one of McKeon's players was current Rangers manager Ron Washington. ``He was a great kid, willing to learn, a hard worker who had passion and loved the game, always wanted to get better,' McKeon said. ``I was so happy when he got in the World Series.'
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved