LOS ANGELES – Rookie Justin Nicolino threw a two-hitter in his season debut and the Miami Marlins silenced the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
The left-handed pitcher was called up from Triple-A New Orleans before the game and was magnificent in his 2016 debut, allowing no runs on two hits in 7 and 1/3 innings. While Nicolino was on the mound, no runner reached second base.
"He was very aggressive and kept attacking," said Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. "He deserves a lot of credit coming up and making his first start of the year."
Nicolino made 12 starts for the Fish last season, and allowed five runs on six hits in a loss to the Dodgers in a June 26, 2015 start in Miami.
Scott Kazmir struggled out of the gate for the fourth consecutive outing allowing back-to-back singles to start the game. Dodger killer, Giancarlo Stanton, knocked in the game's first run two batters later and Marcell Ozuna followed with a single to give Miami an early 2-0 lead.
"First inning, I gave up three or four hits and two runs, they were frustrating hits, but hits nonetheless," Kazmir said of his start. "After that first inning, I felt a little more comfortable and I ended up settling down and found a rhythm. I took that through the rest of the game."
Kazmir settled in from there and did not allow another run through six innings, surrendering seven hits on six strikeouts.
The Dodgers offense disappeared for the third consecutive game and was nonexistent on Wednesday as they were shutout for the first time this season.
"Nicolino threw the ball well and shut us out," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said matter of factly. "We had opportunities late, but couldn't get it done."
Former Dodger manager Don Mattingly took Nicolino out in the eighth inning, and everything started to unravel from there. Bryan Morris replaced Nicolino on the mound and promptly walked Chase Utley. After another pitching change, Yasmani Grandal walked. A third pitching change by Mattingly brought right-hander David Phelps into the game and he walked Joc Pederson and then started to argue with home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor.
Tichenor quickly tossed Phelps from the game and Mattingly ran out of the Marlins dugout to yell at Tichenor. Minutes later, Mattingly was also ejected, paving the way for reliever Jose Urena to strikeout Yasiel Puig and induce Adrian Gonzalez to pop out to right field.
It was the third consecutive loss for the Dodgers, their first three-game losing streak of the season. The loss also marked the first series won by the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium since 2010.
"We have to get more scoring opportunities starting tomorrow," Ellis said. "We have to come back and try and salvage the series."
Players of the Game:
Justin Nicolino: 0 runs, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts, 7.1 IP
1. Justin the Nicolino of Time: The Marlins rookie allowed just two hits, earning his first win of the season after he was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans before the game.
2. Happy Birthday, Kid: Dodgers' shortstop Corey Seager celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday and had one of L.A.'s only two hits on the night.
"Happy Birthday Corey Seager, 22 years old. ...I got ties that old, but it's true. I really do." — Vin Scully (@VinScullyTweet) April 28, 2016
3. Mad Mattingly: Don Mattingly was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning, his second ejection in less than a week. The former Dodgers' manager was arguing with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor after Marlins reliever David Phelps was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Marlins (9-11): Miami ace Jose Fernandez takes the mound in Game 4 of the series as the Fish go for the sweep.
Dodgers (12-10): Maeda-Mania will be in full effect when Kenta Maeda gets the start in the final game of the series at 7:10PM PST.