MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Despite dealing with several injuries to key players, the Miami Marlins have been playing some solid baseball of late.
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami’s franchise player, is enjoying his power surge.
Stanton hit his 41st homer and drove in three runs in the Miami Marlins’ 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
“Fuego,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Seems like every day you count on him hitting one.”
Stanton went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and is hitting .382 (13 for 34) with eight home runs and 15 RBIs in his last nine games.
“You never can expect it that if he throws his pitches it’s going to get demolished,” Stanton said. “I can’t explain it. As long as I get extension and get lift on the ball it’s going to go. Sometimes they’re hard grounders. Sometimes it’s fly balls. It’s one of those grooves.”
He needs one home run to tie Gary Sheffield for the Marlins’ single-season mark set in 1996.
“It’s been fun, fun time every night, downloading info on the pitchers, making sure I’m on time,” Stanton said. “The daily preparation has been fun.”
Stanton has hit 20 home runs in his last 32 games. The last player to accomplish the feat in the same season was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shawn Green in 2002, according to STATS LLC.
“Obviously it’s a pretty special streak. Twenty homers in 32 games is unbelievable,” said Rockies All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado. “I’ve never heard anything like that. He’s got 20 homers in 32 games. I’ve got 26 homers in four-and-a-half months.”
Jeff Hoffman (6-4) allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. Hoffman gave up Stanton’s three-run homer in the fourth.
“He’s playing up there with the best of them right now,” Hoffman said. “You’d almost rather just walk him there and take your medicine or just stay away from him and hope he gets himself out.”
Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon went 4 for 5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. It was the 15th time this season Blackmon has had at least three hits and his third four-hit game.
Miami starter Justin Nicolino (1-1) pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, in his first appearance since June 28. Brad Ziegler struck out Gerardo Parra with runners on first and second to end the game for his fourth save in six opportunities.
Arenado was ejected in the seventh inning by first base umpire Pat Hoberg after Hoberg called Arenado out on a checked swing appeal and Arenado threw his bat in disgust.
“Obviously I thought I didn’t go, but I was mostly mad at myself,” Arenado said. “I can see why he threw me out. I said some words I probably shouldn’t have said towards him so I can see why I got thrown out.”
Rockies manager Bud Black was ill before the game and bench coach Mike Redmond, who was the Marlins manager for parts of three seasons from 2013-15, handled the managerial duties.
The Rockies have dropped four of five.
“We’ve been really good throughout the year at two-out hits and big hits, and right now they’re not coming,” Redmond said.
Both teams scored a run in the first inning. The Rockies loaded the bases in the fourth, but Hoffman grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
The Marlins responded with Stanton’s three-run blast in the bottom half to take a 4-1 lead. The home run landed near a bartender who handed the ball to a young Rockies fan.
“Every time he comes to bat it’s a game changer,” Nicolino said. “He picked me up right there, kind of takes a lot off my shoulders.”
Blackmon singled, stole second, advanced to third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice fly by DJ LeMahieu to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Carlos Gonzalez’s groundout in the eighth pulled the Rockies within 4-3.
GORDON VISITS DOLPHINS
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon visited Miami Dolphins practice earlier in the day.
“He has been coming out,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “I know he’s friends with a lot of the guys on the team. He comes out quite a bit in the spring and we’ll see him every once and a while in training camp when he gets a chance to pop out. It’s always fun to talk with him.”
RAINES THROWS FIRST PITCH
Newly inducted Hall of Famer Tim Raines threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Raines played his final MLB season for the Marlins in 2002 and there are a number of his former Montreal Expos teammates currently involved with the Marlins organization including Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, and Tim Wallach.
“It’s been awesome,” Raines said of the Hall of Fame experience. “It’s very humbling. Not only to have the opportunity to become a Hall of Famer, but to get an opportunity to be in a situation that you’ll remember forever. That’s a part of history that I think every player would want to have.”
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen has not pitched in a game since May 1 due to arm fatigue, but threw a live batting practice session on Saturday. “He’s been good,” Mattingly said. “He hasn’t had problems, no setbacks, so he’s just progressing.”
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (9-4, 3.88 ERA) will take the mound in Sunday’s series finale. Marquez is 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA over his last six starts, averaging 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Marlins: RHP Vance Worley (2-2, 4.82) will make his fourth consecutive start since rejoining the rotation. Worley is 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA over that span.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)