MIAMI — Joe Saunders pitched a three-hitter, Jason Kubel tied a career best with four hits and the Arizona Diamondbacks sent Miami to its sixth straight loss with a 5-0 victory over the Marlins on Friday night.
Kubel extended his hitting streak to 10 games, his average over that stretch going from .200 to .333. Miguel Montero drove in three runs and Aaron Hill homered for Arizona.
Saunders (2-1) struck out four and walked two, getting the third shutout of his career and dropping his ERA from 1.29 to 0.90. Emilio Bonifacio narrowly beat out an infield single with two out in the ninth before Saunders struck out Donnie Murphy to end it.
Miami starter Carlos Zambrano (0-2) pitched six innings, giving up three runs and 10 hits.
On a day where Miami team president David Samson ran the equivalent of two marathons — 52.4 miles — the Marlins failed to get a runner past first base. The Marlins have scored six runs during their losing streak.
"I guarantee they will score before I run another marathon," Samson said after his daylong run that raised $550,000 for charity. "We’re obviously struggling, but it’s a long season."
Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes was given the night off by manager Ozzie Guillen after batting .205 in Miami’s first 18 games.
"I think Jose needs a break mentally and physically," Guillen said.
The Diamondbacks had 15 hits, leaving 12 runners on base.
Saunders got into trouble only once, that coming not because of the Marlins getting hits off him — but actually hitting him.
A comebacker by Hanley Ramirez bounced off Saunders in the fourth inning. He managed to scurry for the ball and threw over to first to beat Ramirez, then limped into the Arizona dugout while grimacing in obvious pain.
But in the fifth, Saunders came back out to the mound, showing no ill effects. And his offence was giving him all the support he needed.
The Diamondbacks had only five instances of someone having a three-hit effort in their first 19 games. They had both Kubel and Hill get there in the first six innings on Friday, as Zambrano flirted with big trouble for much of his night.
He allowed the last three batters he faced in the first inning to reach, getting out of it only when Kubel was caught in a rundown between second and third for the third out after Montero’s single drove Justin Upton home. Hill led off the second inning with a single, followed by walks to Lyle Overbay and Ryan Roberts.
Saunders followed with a sacrifice fly to right, making it 2-0 — the sixth RBI of the pitcher’s career.
Zambrano gave up three more singles in the third, all of them comebackers, only to escape unscathed. Montero grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, and Roberts flied out three batters later to end the threat. That appeared to settle Zambrano down, until Hill sent a 1-2 pitch over the left-field wall to start the sixth.
NOTES: It was Kubel’s sixth four-hit game. He last did it on consecutive days for Minnesota on April 17-18, 2009, and was intentionally walked in the ninth. … Arizona RHP Ian Kennedy (3-0, 3.86 ERA) will look for his 10th straight win Saturday against Miami RHP Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 2.79 ERA). Sanchez no-hit Arizona in 2006. … Zambrano needed 46 pitches to get through two innings — as many as Miami closer Heath Bell threw in the ninth inning of the Marlins’ loss at the New York Mets on Thursday. Bell wasn’t going to be available Friday, Guillen said.