SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jason Marquis has settled into a groove and it shows.
Marquis outpitched Ricky Nolasco, Yonder Alonso had a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and San Diego Padres beat the Miami Marlins 1-0 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.
Marquis (4-2) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out three in eight innings, his longest stint since last Aug. 11th when he had a 5-0 shutout at Pittsburgh.
"I felt pretty good," Marquis said. "I've been working real hard to get my mechanics right the last couple weeks of spring and the first probably four starts. ... It's easier now that I've figured a few things out. I have the life back on my ball, the north-south movement. (The) defense is doing a great job allowing me to pitch to contact and get some quick outs."
Padres manager Bud Black credited Marquis' sinker for the pitcher's effectiveness, especially noting the 14 outs he got on grounders.
"Today it was all about the sinker," Black said. "It was a basic Marquis mix of fastball, sliders and today with the heavy sinker down, down, down. They hit a lot of grounders and our infielders were on their toes and made some great defensive plays especially on the left side of the infield."
Nolasco (2-4) gave up one run and four hits, with one walk and a season-high nine strikeouts in seven innings. He had won his four previous decisions at San Diego, where he dropped to 4-2 with a 2.11 ERA in his career.
In the sixth, Wil Venable singled off Nolasco's leg with one out and advanced to second on Chase Headley's single to right. After Carlos Quentin drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, Venable scored on Alonso's fly to deep left field.
Headley, who also doubled in the first, extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and Venable also had two hits and a stolen base.
In the top of the seventh, the Marlins put runners on first and second on consecutive two-out singles by Justin Ruggiano and Greg Dobbs. However, Marquis struck out Derek Dietrich, who was making his major league debut, to end the inning.
Dietrich got his first career hit in his first major league at bat when he singled off Marquis leading off the third. Miguel Olivo followed with a double. However, Marquis got Nolasco to ground to third with the runners holding. After Juan Pierre coaxed a walk to load the bases, Marquis got Adeiny Hechavarria to hit a grounder back to the mound, which he turned into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.
"Any double play in that situation helps," Marquis said. "I was a little careful with Juan Pierre being that we've had a lot of at-bats and history against each other. I felt that the sinker that I had today against a young guy (Hechavarria) who hasn't seen me too much, I am able to make a pitch and fortunately it was hit at somebody, myself knock it down and finish it off."
"A starting pitcher gets stressed at least once, sometime twice during the course of an outing," Black said. "And Jason made some big pitches when he had to. The punchout on Dietrich (in the seventh) was a change. The first pitch was just a sinker that Dietrich swung through. And an aggressive young hitter swung at another fastball down below the zone."
Huston Street pitched the ninth to pick up his eighth save in eight chances.
The Padres have won four straight, 11 of their last 14 and nine of their last 10 at home after starting the season 5-15 overall. It was their first sweep of the Marlins at home since May 2005
The Marlins, who are last in the majors in runs scored with 99, scored just one run and had 17 hits in three games against the Padres. Wednesday was their sixth shutout of the season.
NOTES: Black confirmed that RHP Burch Smith will be called up from Double-A San Antonio and will make his major league debut on Saturday against the Rays in Tampa. ... Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia, who left Tuesday night's game with a slight right groin pull, said he was going to play catch on Wednesday and did not think he would miss his next start. Marlins manager Mike Redmond said that Sanabia could be pushed back a day or two with the team having a day off on Thursday and another day off on Monday. ... Redmond said that INF Chris Valaika, who fractured his left wrist Tuesday night will likely be out from four to six weeks. Valaika was the 11th player put on the disabled list, tied with the Yankees for the most in the majors. ... OF Chris Coghlan was pressed into service at second Tuesday night when Valaika left the game in the eighth inning. It marked the first time he played in the infield at any level since 2009. ... RHP Edison Volquez (3-3, 5.50) will pitch for the Padres in Tampa Bay Friday night against RHP Alex Cobb (4-2, 2.79). ... The Marlins head to Los Angeles Friday when RHP Jose Fernandez (1-2, 3.48) will pitch against the Dodgers' RHP Matt Magill (0-0, 7.88).