MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins are hoping the homestand they begin on Tuesday goes as well as their last one.
Vying for the NL batting title, Marlins speedster Dee Gordon was held in check the last time he faced the St. Louis Cardinals.
St. Louis can’t say the same about how it fared against Christian Yelich.
Gordon is the lone available Miami hitter who has faced St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez, who gets his first look at Miami in the opener of a three-game series at Marlins Park on Tuesday night.
Gordon, tied with Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt with a .356 average, leads the majors with 26 infield hits, ranks second with 24 steals and has baseball’s highest ratio of groundballs to flyballs at 5.22.
St. Louis (45-24) limited Gordon to three hits in 17 at-bats with no runs in last year’s four-game division series triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers. That was in stark contrast to his .353 regular-season career average against the Cardinals.
Yelich went 12 for 26 with five RBIs and seven runs last year against St. Louis as Miami (30-41) took four of six meetings. His production was critical since Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the majors with 25 homers and 64 RBIs, was 5 for 23 in the season series with two homers and four RBIs.
Gordon leads the NL with a .365 home average and is 4 for 8 against Martinez (7-3, 2.80 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in four career starts against NL East clubs.
The right-hander yielded two runs in 6 2-3 innings in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss at Minnesota after going 4-0 with a 0.80 ERA in his previous five starts. The Cardinals are 10-1 when Martinez starts against an NL opponent.
St. Louis totaled 22 runs in two routs to begin a three-game series in Philadelphia before failing to complete the sweep with Sunday’s 9-2 defeat.
“It’s tough to keep scoring after a couple of big-run games,” manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s going to slow down a little.”
Jason Heyward is 11 for 20 with two homers and five RBIs five games into this eight-game trip. He went 8 for 14 over the weekend.
“I don’t know what else we could ask for the way he’s hitting the ball,” Matheny said.
Randal Grichuk was 6 for 14 with three homers and five RBIs against the Phillies, Jhonny Peralta was 5 for 12 with a home run and five RBIs and Yadier Molina went 4 for 7 with a homer before sitting out Sunday to rest.
They’ll get their first look at rookie Jose Urena (1-3, 4.18), who gave up two runs in six innings in Wednesday’s 2-1 road loss to the New York Yankees. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 3.68 ERA in five starts, lowering his ERA with each successive one.
The Marlins have taken nine of their last 11 at home. They scored 12 runs and batted .195 on a 1-4 trip capped by Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Cincinnati.
“We were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position,” manager Dan Jennings said. “We had some chances, but didn’t take advantage of them.”
Stanton went 4 for 20 on the trip and Yelich was 3 for 18.
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