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Diamondbacks stay hot, beat slumping Marlins 4-3

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PHOENIX (AP) — Ketel Marte smashed a solo homer to take the lead and closed out the win by starting a nifty double play for the final outs.

That’s the guy the Arizona Diamondbacks had in mind when they signed the second baseman to a long-term contract during spring training.

Marte had a big night, Daulton Varsho and Christian Walker each added two hits and the Diamondbacks kept rolling with a 4-3 win over the slumping Miami Marlins on Monday night.

“That’s the player I am,” Marte said through an interpreter. “Early on I was trying to do too much, but that’s what we’ve been working on, little by little.”

The Diamondbacks have won six of seven. The Marlins have dropped eight of nine and lead the majors in one-run losses with 10.

Marte broke a 3-all tie in the sixth when he smashed a 438-foot homer into the right-center seats. It’s been a tough start to the season for the 2019 All-Star, who came into the game hitting just .206 after signing a $76 million, five-year deal during spring training. The deal keeps him with the team through 2027.

Over the past two weeks, he’s looked much better. It’s a big reason the D-backs are 10-3 over that span.

Marte also started a double play to end the game, ranging far to his left for a grounder before jumping, turning and firing to Nick Ahmed at second, who relayed to first for the final out.

“I enjoy watching Ketel play — his confidence is unmatched,” Walker said. “That’s something that I really try to learn from. He’s a great player. It’s not a matter of if he’ll figure it out, it’s a matter of when. We’ve seen him do it day in and day out. It’s good to see him get his swagger back, his confidence back and we can all feed off that.”

Arizona jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first in a back-and-forth start to the game. Walker drove a run-scoring double down the left-field line, and Josh Rojas brought home the second run on a bunt single.

Miami bounced back in the second, tying it at 2 on Jacob Stallings’ two-run single.

Arizona jumped ahead 3-2 in the second, but Garrett Cooper drove a solo homer to right in the fourth that tied it up again.

The Diamondbacks got a decent start on the mound from Humberto Castellanos, who gave up three runs over 5 1/3 innings. Arizona’s starting rotation came into the game with a 2.21 ERA, which is the second-best mark in the majors behind the Dodgers.

“Casty was just grinding it out,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “I don’t think he had his best stuff today, a little bit of a fistfight for him, but he made the pitches when had to.”

Kyle Nelson (1-0) earned his first big-league win with a scoreless inning of relief. Mark Melancon picked up his sixth save, working around a leadoff single.

Miami starter Elieser Hernandez (2-2) gave up four runs, including three earned, over 5 1/3 innings. He was chased in the sixth inning after Marte’s tie-breaking homer.

353 AND COUNTING

Lovullo has now won 353 games in his six seasons as manager of the D-backs, which is tied with Kirk Gibson for the most in franchise history. The Diamondbacks joined MLB in 1998.

MAKING MOVES

Diamondbacks: INF Sergio Alcántara was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres. Alcantara was designated for assignment by the D-backs on May 6. Alcántara struggled during his brief time with Arizona, batting .189 with a homer in 53 at-bats.

UP NEXT

The Diamondbacks send LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 1.50 ERA) to the mound to face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (2-2, 3.04) on Tuesday night. Bumgarner’s last outing lasted just one inning when the lefty was ejected after a foreign-substance check gone wrong with umpire Dan Bellino.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer

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