MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Marlins hoped Dee Gordon could give them a spark at the top of the lineup after acquiring him in the offseason.
He’s exceeding any expectations.
After setting a franchise hits record, Gordon will try to help the Marlins match their longest home winning streak of the season Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds.
Gordon was a .272 hitter in parts of four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers but he’s third in the NL at .336 with Miami (36-50). His 33 stolen bases rank second in the majors, nine behind the Reds’ Billy Hamilton.
His emergence as one of baseball’s best leadoff hitters earned him a start at second base in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
He’ll go there with the most hits in team history prior to the break. Gordon set the mark at 119 after getting two hits with three stolen bases while doing all the scoring to back a seven-inning gem by Jose Fernandez in a 2-0 win over the Reds (38-45) on Thursday.
“The little things. I was able to do the little things,” Gordon told MLB’s official website. “That’s what we need to do. We’re not going to overpower anybody, especially with a guy like me on the team. Just continue to do the little things.”
The Marlins have won four straight at home but the run is in jeopardy versus Mike Leake (5-5, 4.39 ERA), who is 4-1 with a 1.65 ERA in five starts in the series.
The right-hander was terrific in a home matchup June 19, striking out seven and allowing two hits in seven innings of a 5-0 win. He held Gordon without a hit in three at-bats after allowing him to go 3 for 7 with two doubles over the previous three years.
Leake has won both visits to Miami by yielding one run in 12 2-3 innings and a road start suits him. He’s 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA in eight starts as the visitor compared to a 5.92 ERA in nine at home.
Leake’s last two starts came in Cincinnati and he gave up 10 runs and 17 hits in 10 innings. He struggled early in Sunday’s 6-1 loss to Milwaukee, allowing one run and needing 28 pitches to get out of the first inning before yielding two more runs and leaving after the sixth.
“It was just a battle inning,” Leake said. “It wasn’t like I was trying to throw balls or avoid bats. They were kind of fouling some pitches off and working me a little bit. They were making it tough on me from the start.”
Marlon Byrd is batting .358 during a team-high 12-game hitting streak, his longest since going a career-high 16 straight with the Chicago Cubs from April 28-May 16, 2011.
He is 11 for 31 (.355) in his last eight games in Miami.
The Marlins are turning to David Phelps (4-4, 4.03) after sending Jarred Cosart to Triple-A New Orleans on Saturday.
Phelps is getting his first start since a 5-2 loss at Cincinnati on June 21. The right-hander surrendered five runs in 5 2-3 innings, serving up two-run homers to Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce.
Those are the only hits Phelps has allowed to Frazier and Bruce in 12 combined at-bats.
Phelps has since appeared twice in relief, tossing 4 1-3 scoreless innings. He has allowed two runs in 15 innings while winning his last two home starts.
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