- Associated Press - Sunday, April 6, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - One swing ruined Nathan Eovaldi’s chance to win, though not what he felt about his performance.

Eovaldi tied a career high with eight strikeouts in seven innings, but allowed a go-ahead, three-run homer to pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista as the San Diego Padres beat the Miami Marlins 4-2 on Sunday.

“You always take that last at-bat and I thought (I pitched) a great game,” Eovaldi said. “He hit a good pitch. It was just that one at-bat. I felt good about the whole day.”

Eovaldi (1-1) held the Padres scoreless through six before the home run that gave San Diego a 3-1 lead.

“I definitely didn’t see that coming,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “Eovaldi pitched a great game and deserved better than that, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”

The Marlins completed their opening homestand with a 5-2 record.

“The goal is to try to win every series and we were able to do that,” Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee said. “We had a chance to go for a sweep today. We had our chances, but now we have to go on the road and try to keep the momentum going.”

Amarista celebrated his 25th birthday with the pivotal homer.

“I was happy,” Amarista said. “Instead of me getting gifts from my teammates, I gave a gift to the team. After all that we went through this series, to get a ‘W’ the way we did and come through on my birthday is something I’m not going to forget.”

Will Venable and Tommy Medica singled with one out in the seventh. Eovaldi was able to get Yasmani Grandal to ground out before Amarista came to the plate.

Batting for pitcher Ian Kennedy, Amarista drove the ball over the right-field wall on the ninth pitch of the at-bat for a 3-1 lead.

“He’s a little guy, but he’s got a little sock on the pull side,” Padres manager Bud Black said.

Amarista, a center fielder, was held out of the starting lineup, but came through when he got his chance.

“Some guys were giving me a hard time, you always play a guy on his birthday,” Black said. “We didn’t start him, but he sort of showed me I guess.”

Kennedy (1-1) was sharp, using his fastball and curveball and allowing one run and three hits in six innings. He struck out five before exiting in favor of Amarista.

Story Continues →