SAN DIEGO: Jeff Mathis hadn’t hit a grand slam since 2013 when his bases-loaded shot in the ninth beat the Padres.
He didn’t prolong matters this time.
With the bases loaded in the first inning on Tuesday, Mathis launched his first homer of the season, and the Marlins held on for a 5-2 win over the Padres.
Tom Koehler, who was making his 100th career start, turned in six strong innings as the Marlins put themselves in position — with a win on Wednesday — to cap off the road trip with a series sweep.
A victory would also get them a winning, 5-4 trip after starting out 2-4.
Mathis brought a .170 average into Tuesday.
But the Marlins’ backup catcher got just enough of Drew Pomeranz’s 3-1 fastball, putting it just over the wall in left for the third grand slam of his career.
The Marlins didn’t score again after that, not that Koehler needed any more help.
Koehler matched his season high with eight strikeouts, and held the Padres to two runs on six hits.
All of the Marlins’ scoring came in the first after Adeiny Hechavarria walked to start the game and scored on Chris Johnson’s infield single, which left the bases loaded for Mathis.
The Marlins mustered only three hits the rest of the way. But one, a double, belonged to slumping Giancarlo Stanton, who was back in the lineup after sitting out Monday.
Ichiro Suzuki, whose three hits on Monday increased his career total to 2,977 and, counting his hits in Japan, left him one shy of Pete Rose’s major league mark of 4,256, came up as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
But he grounded weakly to first, leaving his career totals unchanged.
A.J. Ramos closed out the win for his 20th save and, going back to last season, has converted his past 29 save opportunities.