NEW YORK (The Sports Xchange) — Giancarlo Stanton, the reigning Home Run Derby champion and the player viewed as the most likely to make a post-steroid era run at the season home run record, has yet to homer this season.
The Miami Marlins have scored 25 runs.
So… why fix what’s not broken?
“No more home runs,” Stanton said with a grin Saturday night when he had three sharp singles in four at-bats as the Marlins cruised past the New York Mets 8-1 at Citi Field.
The Marlins’ steady approach has paid off in the first two games of the three-game series, during which they’ve collected 24 hits — just five for extra-bases — while beating the Mets by a combined score of 15-3.
“Top to bottom, looks really good,” Stanton said. “So keep it up.”
Marcell Ozuna hit a long solo homer in the second on Saturday, but the Marlins’ other seven RBIs were produced in small-ball fashion.
Ozuna added an RBI single in the seventh. J.T. Realmuto (RBI singles in the eighth and ninth) and Miguel Rojas (sacrifice fly in the third and a safety squeeze in the eighth) had two RBIs apiece.
Stanton delivered an RBI single in the first and Dee Gordon had a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the ninth.
Realmuto had three hits — he has at least two hits in all four games in which he has played this season — and Adeiny Hechavarria added two hits.
“Try to feed off the team,” Stanton said. “You see other people having good at-bats, we all kind of stack up together.”
The most encouraging thing for manager Don Mattingly is the Marlins aren’t clicking on all cylinders. Outfielder Christian Yelich, who won a Silver Slugger award last season, went 0-for-6 and first baseman Justin Bour, who hit 38 homers the previous two seasons, is just 2-for-17 this season.
“We’re getting it from all different places,” Mattingly said. “We’ve got a few guys going good and a few guys not going great. But we have that kind of lineup we think that can kind of nick you all over.”
The early RBIs by Stanton, Ozuna and Rojas were more than enough for left-hander Adam Conley (1-0), who allowed one run, one hit and three walks while striking out six in five innings.
Conley retired the first 11 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until Lucas Duda’s two-out homer in the fifth. The outing actually raised Conley’s career ERA against the Mets in six games (five starts) from 1.11 to 1.22.
“There are pitches that get made throughout a game that are crucial (in) dictating the outcome of the game,” Conley said. “For whatever reason, it seems to be that against these guys, I make that pitch.”
Conley wriggled out of a jam in the fifth, when he issued consecutive walks after Duda’s homer before retiring Curtis Granderson on a long fly out to center. Brad Ziegler, Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and Jose Urena each threw a scoreless inning apiece in finishing up the three-hitter.
“It felt like a complete game for us,” Mattingly said. “Adam threw zeroes for us, we put some runs on the board early and then we were able to tack on late. Keep coming a little bit and take a little pressure off of us and not have to end up in a save situation or anything like that.”
Mets rookie Robert Gsellman (0-1) took the loss after allowing three runs, six hits and two walks while striking out seven in five innings. Any chance the Mets had of keeping the game close disappeared in the final three innings, when Hansel Robles, Paul Sewald and Rafael Montero gave up five runs, seven hits and three walks while combining for just five outs.
Mets manager Terry Collins had to use his top two setup men, left-hander Jerry Blevins and right-hander Fernando Salas, to get the final two outs of the eighth and ninth. Salas has pitched in four of New York’s five games this year and Blevins has made three appearances.
“Especially this time of year, where you’re not getting your starters deep in the game, you use (relievers) more than you want to, for sure,” Collins said. “We checked before the game: Everybody that was in the game tonight was able to pitch tonight, but you’ve got to be able to make pitches.”
Jay Bruce and Asdrubal Cabrera had singles for the Mets, who have scored two runs or fewer three times in five games.
“We’re built to do a lot of things, and certainly, we’re not swinging the bats like we can,” Collins said.
NOTES: The Mets selected the contract of RHP Paul Sewald from Triple-A Las Vegas and designated INF/OF Ty Kelly for assignment. Sewald, a 10th-round pick of the Mets in the 2012 draft, made his major league debut in the eighth inning but gave up two runs while getting only one out. Kelly was hitless in his only at-bat this season. … Marlins C J.T. Realmuto batted leadoff — the third different spot he has held in the order in four games this season.
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