MLB: Marlins’ Jesus Luzardo brings scoreless run into matchup with Padres

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Miami Marlins left-hander Jesus Luzardo will try to maintain his streak of scoreless innings when he takes the mound against the host San Diego Padres on Tuesday night in the middle game of a three-game series.

Luzardo (2-3, 4.14 ERA) has combined for 14 shutout innings over his past two outings.

In a pair of home games, Luzardo blanked the New York Mets on five hits over six innings in an 8-0 win on May 17, and he then threw eight scoreless frames while allowing three hits in a 1-0 win against the Milwaukee Brewers last Wednesday.

Those starts marked a stark turnaround from earlier this season, when Luzardo went 0-2 with a 7.29 ERA in four starts in April.

“Their kid deserves a lot of credit,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said of Luzardo. “We didn’t get on him at all. He was all over us all night, ahead in the count and he pitched great. (Luzardo has) really good stuff. Really good stuff.”

Murphy was especially impressed with Luzardo’s fastball, which sits in the mid-90s and is usually located in the upper part of the strike zone.

“That’s how he gets those popups,” Murphy said. “The changeup was very good to keep us off it, and his breaking ball was good, so he was lights-out.”

In his past three outings, Luzardo has struck out 19 while issuing just one walk.

“The strikeouts for me, it’s not that important blowing people away,” Luzardo said. “It’s more of getting deeper in the game, giving our team a chance to compete and saving the bullpen at the end of the day. I know that our guys are getting worn out early in the year, and it’s something that I kind of take a lot of pride in trying to save them.”

Luzardo is 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in four career starts against the Padres.

After dropping the series opener 2-1 on Monday, the Marlins need a win to keep their chances of winning a fifth straight series alive.

San Diego plans to send right-hander Matt Waldron to the mound.

Waldron (2-5, 4.86) has strung together three straight above-average starts, the first two against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves.

Waldron, the only current major league pitcher who features a knuckleball, most recently held the Cincinnati Reds to two runs and six hits in five innings of a 6-4 win in 10 innings on Thursday.

He has never faced Miami in his two big-league seasons.

The Padres should also have plenty of confidence when it’s time to go to their bullpen.

Jeremiah Estrada got the day off on Monday after striking out all five batters he faced in a 5-2 win against the visiting New York Yankees on Sunday.

Estrada, whom the Padres claimed off waivers from the Chicago Cubs last November, has struck out the past 10 batters he’s faced to set a team record.

Adrian Morejon could be unavailable after throwing two innings of shutout relief on Monday to earn the win, but closer Robert Suarez should be ready after needing just 14 pitches to notch his 16th save in 16 opportunities.

“He’s graduating,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said of Morejon. “Like Estrada has, to those higher-leverage spots, which are critical for them and obviously huge for us.”

–Field Level Media

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