MIAMI (AP) — Even Giancarlo Stanton’s monster performance wasn’t enough to help the Miami Marlins put an end to their losing streak.
Facing a long-time nemesis in the series finale, they could have a difficult time again at Citizens Bank Park.
Kyle Kendrick and the Philadelphia Phillies look to finish off a three-game sweep off the struggling Marlins on Sunday.
After Miami (5-7) hit just .206 while totaling 13 runs over the first five games of this six-game skid, Stanton gave the team a lift with three hits – two home runs – and three RBIs in Saturday’s 5-4, 10-inning loss.
The slugging right fielder’s first homer, measured at 470 feet, pulled the Marlins within 4-2 in the fifth before his two-run shot tied it up in the seventh. Stanton had been 4 for 21 with nine strikeouts in his previous five games.
“He’s a guy that definitely has our attention,” Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg told the team’s official website. “You really have to mix up the pitches and be smart. You have to really see what he’s doing swing by swing. He has plate coverage and power to all fields, and when he gets a pitch, it goes a long way.”
The Phillies (5-6) won their second in a row following a four-game slide when Jimmy Rollins homered with two outs in the 10th inning off Dan Jennings. Rollins finished with three hits and is 5 for 8 in the first two games of this series.
Having won 25 of its last 33 home games versus the Marlins, Philadelphia appears to have a solid opportunity to improve that mark with Kendrick on the mound. The right-hander has gone 9-0 with a 2.21 ERA in his last 11 starts versus Miami, winning six consecutive home outings while limiting the Marlins to nine runs and a .207 batting average.
Following a strong season debut, Kendrick (0-1, 3.75 ERA) wasn’t nearly as sharp Tuesday when he allowed six runs – four earned – and nine hits over five innings in a 10-4 loss to Milwaukee.
“My command was off,” said Kendrick, who is 1-3 with a 6.90 ERA in his last six home starts dating to last season. “I was up in the zone a lot, got behind in some counts.”
Stanton (3 for 18), Greg Dobbs (2 for 16) and Adeiny Hechavarria (1 for 7) haven’t been able to do much when facing Kendrick. Hechavarria, who went 2 for 4 Saturday, is batting .395 during a 10-game hitting streak against the Phillies.
Miami counters with Henderson Alvarez (0-2, 4.15), who surrendered three runs – one earned – over 5 2-3 innings in Tuesday’s 5-0 loss at Washington. There’s been little margin of error for Alvarez since he’s received only one run of support in his two outings.
The right-hander pitched well in his only career start against the Phillies, giving up two runs – both in the first inning – and five hits over seven frames in a 2-1 defeat last September.
Chase Utley went 1 for 2 against Alvarez in that contest, and he’s looking to extend his hot start in this matchup. He went 2 for 4 with two doubles Saturday, leaving him 17 for 36 (.472) with nine RBIs while hitting safely in all nine games.
The five-time All-Star has hit .406 with two homers and 13 RBIs over his last eight meetings with the Marlins.
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