MIAMI (AP) — Marcell Ozuna’s powerful performance highlighted the Miami Marlins’ series-opening win over the Colorado Rockies.
Saturday night may be Giancarlo Stanton’s turn to shine, considering his habit of hitting home runs in support of Tom Koehler.
Ozuna hit his second career grand slam – his third homer in as many games and his 19th this season – in Friday night’s 13-5 victory at Colorado. Ozuna is hitting .429 over his last seven games and has 10 RBIs in the last four.
“He looks relaxed up there,” manager Mike Redmond said. “He laid off a couple of pitches where maybe last week he might have swung at them.”
Miami (64-63) won for the ninth time in 13 games and drew a season-high nine walks, including two by Stanton, who was 3 for 4. He is batting .375 with 18 RBIs over his last 14 contests.
Stanton, who leads the NL with 32 homers and 80 walks, has connected for 11 of his home runs in games started by Koehler (9-9, 3,82 ERA). Koehler is 5-3 when Stanton homers.
The slugger staked Koehler to an early lead with a three-run, first-inning homer in Sunday’s 10-3 home win over Arizona. The right-hander gave up two runs and struck out seven in six innings while winning a second straight start for the first time this season.
“When your big guy is producing the way he is, you’ve got a chance of winning a ballgame,” Koehler told MLB’s official website. “When you see him swinging the bat well, it makes everybody else not press and just go out there and do what they’re capable of doing in that game.”
Koehler locked down Colorado in two matchups last year, winning one while yielding one run over seven innings both times.
Stanton has seven homers and 16 RBIs through 12 career games at Coors Field – good enough for a 1.467 OPS, his highest at any park.
He’s also 2 for 5 with a double and a homer against Jordan Lyles (6-1, 4.01). Coors Field hasn’t been friendly to Lyles, who is 1-1 with an 8.35 ERA over his last four starts there. He gave up five runs in five innings without a decision in Colorado’s 10-9 win over Cincinnati on Sunday.
Lyles has split two career starts against Miami while posting a 7.36 ERA. He gave up four runs in five innings of a 6-5 win at Marlins Park on April 2.
Garrett Jones is 9 for 16 versus Lyles with two doubles and two homers.
Colorado (50-77) enjoyed two-run homers by Justin Morneau and Corey Dickerson but was without Michael Cuddyer for a third straight game due to a strained left hamstring. Cuddyer, who is 5 for 10 in two games since missing more than two months due to a strained shoulder, told MLB’s official website he will avoid a return to the DL, though he’s not expected to play until Sunday at the earliest.
Christian Yelich was 2 for 4 for Miami to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he’s batting .512 (21 for 41) with eight runs scored.
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