May 17, 2017 / 2:45 AM / in 10 months

Marisinick homers twice as Astros hammer Marlins

Marisinick homers twice as Astros hammer Marlins

MIAMI — Jake Marisnick tried to downplay beating his original major league team, the Miami Marlins, with a pair of two-run homers.

Marisnick claimed it wasn’t a really big deal.

“No, not too much,” said Marisnick, the first Houston Astros player this year to total 10 bases in one game. “I have some good friends over there. It’s fun playing against them.”

It was indeed a lot of fun for Marisnick and Brian McCann, who each had four RBIs as Houston defeated Miami 12-2 on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

Dallas Keuchel (7-0), the 2015 Cy Young winner, earned the win, allowing four hits, no walks and two runs in five innings, He became the first seven-game winner in the majors this year.

Keuchel, the American League’s reigning Pitcher of the Month, has won a career-high nine straight decisions dating to last August, and he has a 1.84 ERA this year.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he took Keuchel out after five innings just to ease his workload.

“I’ve been looking for a time to get him out,” Hinch said. “We’ve had him out there so deep into games. Very similar to position players, when I can get an easy day for him (I will).”

Marisnick, who broke into the majors with the Marlins in 2013, also hit a double and went 3-for-5. This was the first two-homer game of his career. It was also his first game with three extra-base hits.

“What a special night for Jake,” Hinch said. “He is hitting the ball out to center field, where a lot of people don’t do. That probably warrants another start for him tomorrow.”

In addition to Marisnick, McCann hit an RBI single in the first inning and a three-run double in the second, giving him 25 RBIs for the season, tops among AL catchers.

All that offense helped carry the Astros (28-12), who have the best record in baseball.

Miami (14-24), which has lost 16 of its past 20 games, didn’t get much from starter Tom Koehler (1-2). He allowed seven hits, four walks and eight runs in three innings. It was his shortest outing of the season, driving his ERA up to 7.04.

After the game, the Marlins sent Koehler to Triple-A New Orleans. Koehler, 30, has not pitched in the minors since 2013 and is the second Marlins starting pitcher to get sent down in the past week, following Adam Conley last Tuesday.

Koehler, who said he has “dealt with adversity my whole life,” was asked if he agreed with the decision to demote him.

“Whether I agree with the decision or not, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s a performance-based move. It doesn’t matter about track record.

“You don’t think about this happening. But I also didn’t think I’d be sitting here in the middle of May with a 7.00 (7.04) ERA.”

Koehler got off to a bad start, allowing three first-inning runs. Carlos Correa, McCann and Marwin Gonzalez all had run-scoring singles.

Miami closed its deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the first. J.T. Realmuto had an RBI single, and Giancarlo Stanton hit a run-scoring grounder.

After hitting five singles in the first inning, the Astros used three consecutive walks to load the bases with two outs. McCann then stroked his double to right, where Stanton dove for the ball but came up empty. That gave Houston a secure 6-2 lead.

Houston went up 8-2 in the third when Gonzalez walked, and Marisnick homered to center. The same combination clicked in the fifth as Gonzalez singled, and Marisnick went deep again, giving Houston a 10-2 lead.

The Astros added a run in the seventh on Josh Reddick’s RBI single and scored in the ninth on an error by Marlins rookie shortstop JT Riddle.

Marlins manager Don Mattingly was clearly disappointed with Koehler’s performance.

“Command is his biggest issue,” Mattingly said. “Tom is a pro. He handled (his demotion). You have to get better — simple as that.”

NOTES: Miami claimed INF Christian Colon off waivers from the Kansas City Royals. Miami designated INF Steve Lombardozzi for assignment. Colon, 28, will report to Triple-A New Orleans, where he will be used at shortstop, second base and third. ... At 28-12, this is the best 40-game start in Astros history. ... Astros 3B Marwin Gonzalez extended his hit streak to 11 games, and he is hitting .429 during that span. ... Miami made four pitching acquisitions before this season, and none have worked out as hoped. LHP Jeff Locke (biceps injury) has yet to pitch. RHP Edinson Volquez is 0-5 with a 4.41 ERA, and RHPs Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler have ERAs of 6.60 and 7.04, respectively. ... With Houston starting a left-hander, Miami rested two of its lefty hitters. 3B Mike Aviles replaced 3B Derek Dietrich, and 1B Tyler Moore replaced 1B Justin Bour. ... Miami is 1-7 on its homestand. The homestand ends Wednesday against Houston.

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