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Brilliant Cosart sets up Marlins' shutout of Braves

Righty's seven-plus backed by Solano, 'pen to keep playoff hopes alive

Brilliant Cosart sets up Marlins' shutout of Braves play video for Brilliant Cosart sets up Marlins' shutout of Braves

ATLANTA -- When the Marlins acquired Jarred Cosart from the Astros, they were looking to add a talented young arm to improve their starting depth. What the right-hander has done ever since is perform like an ace.

Cosart threw seven-plus dominant innings on Saturday night in the Marlins' 4-0 win over the Braves at Turner Field.

Miami snapped its three-game slide and won for the first time since Cosart allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings at the Angels on Monday.

Donovan Solano belted a home run off Braves starter Aaron Harang and added two RBIs, while Giancarlo Stanton had a run-scoring single.

The Marlins rebounded after losing, 5-2, on Friday night to even their weekend series at Atlanta, and they improved to 66-68 overall. They are 5 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.

Cosart, A.J. Ramos, Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek combined on Miami's 14th shutout of the season.

Going from the Astros to Miami, a team with postseason aspirations, has been a boost for Cosart.

"Some guys really need that adrenaline, and they really thrive in those situations," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "For him, going from Houston to our team, a team that is young and headed in the right direction, and is fighting for a playoff spot, that energizes guys.

"You kind of see the best from your players in those situations. He's definitely one of those guys who has risen to the occasion. He wants it. He wants to help us make it to the playoffs. Those are the kinds of guys a manager wants on his team."

Since the July 31 trade, Cosart has made five starts for Miami and is 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA. But in his last four outings, he has an ERA of 0.65 (two earned runs in 27 2/3 innings).

The 24-year-old right-hander makes it clear he is motivated by his new beginning on an enthusiastic young team.

"It's a chip on your shoulder, obviously," Cosart said. "I didn't have a contract. I wasn't a high-paid guy. You just play with that extra chip on your shoulder. It would be the icing on the cake if we could somehow get into the playoffs, and I could continue to do well into the playoffs. You just go out there staying motivated every day, and trying to help this team win.

"There is no disrespect to the Astros, but hopefully, I can make them get the bad end of that trade."

Solano, who connected in the first inning, doesn't have many home runs, but he's made the few that he's had count. He has three this season, with the previous two coming off David Price and Adam Wainwright. Miami won both of those games.

Miami padded its lead to two runs with a two-out rally in the third inning. Christian Yelich walked and moved to third on Solano's single to right. Stanton then slapped a run-scoring single to center, snapping an 0-for-12 slump with eight strikeouts. The RBI was the slugger's National League-leading 98th, moving him closer to posting Miami's first 100-RBI season since Dan Uggla had 105 in 2010.

In the fifth inning, Solano came through with a two-out, run-scoring single that scored Yelich, who had doubled.

Miami made it 4-0 in the sixth inning, when Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored on Evan Gattis' passed ball. Saltalamacchia had walked and moved to third on Adeiny Hechavarria's double.

Harang was lifted after 5 2/3 innings and 97 pitches, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits.

Through five innings, Cosart was at 59 pitches. His first stressful frame was the sixth, when he had two on and one out before striking out Andrelton Simmons looking with the count full. The threat ended when Freddie Freeman tapped to second.

"That cutter. It's not often you see a guy, especially a starter, who throws that many cutters," Atlanta's Chris Johnson said. "He maybe only threw a handful of two-seamers or four-seamers tonight. He was cutter, curveball. That's a tough pitch against right-handers and left-handers. He was good at it. He was spotting it up. He was working it inside-outside. It's just something we have to get used to, him being in our division now. We have to try to get used to it and work out a plan for the cutter."

The Braves threatened in the eighth, with Cosart allowing singles to Tommy La Stella and B.J. Upton to open the inning. But Ramos, who struck out two, and Dunn were able to work out of a bases-loaded jam.

"I got a little tired there at the end," Cosart said. "That's something I got to work on. I just got to keep moving forward, keep the momentum going."


Penciled in as fifth starter, Penny to pitch Tuesday

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ATLANTA -- It remains subject to change, but for now, Brad Penny is getting the nod as Miami's fifth starter.

Manager Mike Redmond made the announcement official on Saturday afternoon, noting that Penny will make the start on Tuesday against the Mets at Marlins Park.

With Penny back in the rotation, left-hander Brad Hand will go back to the bullpen.

Penny, 36, has made two starts this season, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA. He's also pitched twice in relief, including throwing one scoreless inning in Friday's 5-2 loss in Atlanta.

"He's done a nice job," Redmond said. "He's been in big games, big situations. He's earned it."

Before joining the Marlins in early August, Penny had not pitched in the big leagues since 2012. The veteran right-hander, who has All-Star and playoff experience, has been a bit rusty with his command. In 10 innings as a starter, he's walked seven and struck out six.

Hand has bounced back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation, going 2-6 with a 4.71 ERA. In his last start -- a loss at Colorado -- he gave up four earned runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

As a starter, Hand is 2-6 with a 4.82 ERA, compared to a 4.34 ERA and no decisions in 15 appearances as a reliever.

Although Penny is getting the start on Tuesday, the team is handling the fifth spot on a per-game basis.

"We'll see," Redmond said. "I think I've been pretty consistent that we will take it one start at a time and see how Brad [Penny] does. We've kind of kept it open going from start to start at this point."


Bullpen steps up with clutch relief of Cosart

Bullpen steps up with clutch relief of Cosart play video for Bullpen steps up with clutch relief of Cosart

ATLANTA -- Through seven innings, Jarred Cosart was in total command. The Miami right-hander ran out of steam in the eighth.

Fortunately for Cosart and the Marlins, the bullpen was ready to pick him up.

There was no save situation in the Marlins' 4-0 win over the Braves on Saturday night at Turner Field. But A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn came through in the eighth inning to keep Atlanta off the board and maintain a four-run lead for Steve Cishek in the ninth inning.

The eighth inning opened a bit dicey for Cosart as Tommy La Stella and B.J. Upton each singled.

"I was able to go out there and get a quick seventh," Cosart said. "I kind of wanted to carry that over to the eighth, and I think I got a little tired. But that's definitely something that can be fixed. Just run a little more."

Ramos inherited two on and no outs and struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit looking. Jason Heyward's infield single loaded the bases with one out, but Ramos was able to strike out Andrelton Simmons looking.

Manager Mike Redmond went with the percentages with two outs and brought in Dunn, the lefty, to face left-handed-hitting Freddie Freeman.

It took one pitch to retire Freeman on a grounder to first.

Ramos and Dunn each were credited with holds, the 19th of the year for both.

Had Atlanta scored in the eighth inning, it would have created a possible save situation for Cishek. Instead, Cishek had a four-run lead to protect, and he struck out three around a two-out single to Chris Johnson.

The support of the bullpen enabled Cosart to improve to 3-1 with Miami since being acquired from the Astros on July 31.


Jockeying for WC position, Marlins, Eovaldi eye series win

Eovaldi brings heat in duel with innings-minded Wood in rubber game

Jockeying for WC position, Marlins, Eovaldi eye series win play video for Jockeying for WC position, Marlins, Eovaldi eye series win

The Marlins are in a tricky position as they wrap up August, negotiating their role as a potential playoff contender and a late-season spoiler. A 4-0 victory Saturday night over the hot-and-cold second-place Braves continued that confusion.

Miami, still 5 1/2 games back in the race for the second National League Wild Card spot, will turn to righty Nathan Eovaldi on Sunday to help navigate itself into a clearer picture against Atlanta, which is still trying to keep pace in the NL East but is seven games behind the first-place Nationals.

The Braves' narrower focus remains that second Wild Card spot, which has become more attainable with their recent string of wins. They sit just 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals and face a heavy helping of division rivals in September, including six games in the middle of the month with the Nats that could better determine their playoff chances.

In the short term, the Braves will try to win their second straight series facing one of the hardest fastballs in the Majors. According to Fangraphs.com, Eovaldi's fastball averages 95.8 mph, the fourth highest among qualifying MLB starters. But in terms of overall production, he has been going through some rough times.

Eovaldi is coming off his shortest outing of the season, allowing six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in a loss at the Angels, and he has lost his last three starts, allowing 12 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings (7.54 ERA). Since June 23, he has one victory, and Miami is 3-8 in his starts over that span.

Still, Eovaldi has enjoyed success against Atlanta, posting a 1-1 record with a 2.57 ERA in four starts.

"I've faced Atlanta multiple times," Eovaldi said. "I've done well against them. I'm hoping to have a good game and bounce back."

A year ago, Eovaldi missed the early part of the season due to a right shoulder injury. He ended up throwing 106 1/3 innings, and his innings total now is at 165 1/3.

"My arm feels great," he said. "I feel 100 percent right now. Probably the best I've felt in my career. No issues."

Alex Wood will take the hill for the Braves, aiming to go at least seven innings for the third straight game and this time hoping to get a win to show for it. His last outing was certainly good enough for a victory -- seven innings, three earned runs -- but as it has been all year, Atlanta's inconsistent offense couldn't back him against the Mets' Dillon Gee.

"You can take positives and negatives from anything," Wood said after the start. "When you lose when you go out there, you can't help but take responsibility because you're the guy with the ball in his hand."

Wood allowed two runs in a no-decision against the Pirates on Aug. 20.

Braves: Kimbrel joins elite list with 40th save
Craig Kimbrel joined yet another exclusive club when he notched his Major League-high 40th save to end Friday night's 5-2 win over the Marlins.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kimbrel became just the third Major League pitcher to register 40 or more saves in each of four consecutive seasons. Trevor Hoffman did it twice (1998-2001 and 2004-07) and Francisco Rodriguez matched the feat from 2005-08.

Kimbrel's success this year adds to the accomplishment he achieved last year, when he became the first pitcher in Major League history to record at least 40 saves in each of his first three full seasons.

Kimbrel has successfully converted 90.7 percent of the 197 save opportunities he has had since the start of the 2011 season. His 178 saves during this span are 47 more than any other Major Leaguer over the same period.

Marlins: Needing veterans to step up
Giancarlo Stanton is enjoying an MVP-caliber season. Christian Yelich is emerging in the leadoff spot, getting on base and scoring runs.

What the Marlins are looking for is more all-around production from a streaky lineup. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Garrett Jones are among the veterans brought in with playoff experience. Both have had their ups and downs.

"I think we have guys that are capable of swinging the bats," manager Mike Redmond said. "You could ask probably any of those guys, and some of them would say I need to be better or get more hits or whatever.

"But this is a team, and our offense always feeds off momentum. When we're going good, we're an offense that works together. Guys just need to stay focused on doing their part and doing their job -- the top of the order getting on base. We know eventually we're going to get those big hits."

‪ ‪Worth noting
‪• After collecting three hits Saturday night, Jason Heyward now has 19 multi-hit games since July 8.

‪• With 98 RBIs, Stanton is closing in on the Marlins' first 100-RBI season since Dan Uggla had 105 in 2010.


Miami looking to maintain focus under pressure

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ATLANTA -- All season the Marlins have met adversity head-on, and they've done a pretty good job pushing through no matter how daunting the task.

In May, their ace, Jose Fernandez, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. Rather than fall apart, Henderson Alvarez took on the role of ace and made the All-Star team. Someone has always stepped up to pick up the slack.

Now, on the brink of falling completely out of the Wild Card race, the Marlins are being tested yet again. Are they running out of gas late in the season, or are they set to make another surge?

To stay in it, Miami must do a better job of executing.

"I don't think you can write us off just yet, but shut-down innings are going to be huge, and just executing across the board is what we're going to need to do to stay in this," starter Tom Koehler said.

Defensively, Miami didn't make the plays in Friday's 5-2 loss. Garrett Jones committed his 13th error of the season, the most of any first baseman in the big leagues. Center fielder Marcell Ozuna also was charged with an error, which allowed an unearned run to score in the seventh inning.

They also didn't make the necessary pitches. Twice in the innings the Marlins scored, the Braves countered in their half of the inning.

The Marlins have had their troubles in the field, posting 88 errors, which are seventh most in the Majors.

"We've just got to keep playing hard," Jones said. "We've had a lot of comeback wins, and our offense is strong, and we can score a lot of runs, and our pitching has been great. We need to stick to the plan, stay focused and don't let a couple losses deter us from our goal."


Good pitching can help pick up Miami's bats

Good pitching can help pick up Miami's bats

ATLANTA -- What the Marlins are experiencing this month is a case of good hitting being shut down by good pitching.

In August, Miami has scored 97 runs in 25 games, the 12th most in the National League. Overall, the production has been good, as the Marlins are sixth in the NL with 540 runs.

While the Marlins can certainly help out the pitching by improving their ability to come through in the clutch, manager Mike Redmond notes success from their own pitchers can help relieve the burden on the hitters.

"It seems like we've been getting guys on base, we just can't get that big blow to give us some breathing room," Redmond said. "We need that to take pressure off our pitching and our bullpen.

"At the same time, we're going up against good teams and good pitchers at a time of the year where they are trying to shut us down. That's why we always talk about how important pitching is when it comes to crunch time, because good pitching always finds a way to get the hitters out."


Marlins let lead slip away after Koehler's solid start

Pinch-hitter Valdespin goes deep, but miscues offset righty's effort

Marlins let lead slip away after Koehler's solid start play video for Marlins let lead slip away after Koehler's solid start

ATLANTA -- Already facing an uphill climb in their National League Wild Card chase, the Marlins have little margin for error. On Friday night, some costly mistakes at inopportune times set them back even further in their quest.

Justin Upton blasted a two-run homer and drove in three runs to power the Braves to a 5-2 victory over Miami at Turner Field. Jason Heyward added two hits and drove in the go-ahead run in a three-run seventh inning.

Miami committed two errors and was unable to convert on the necessary plays with the game on the line, which proved to be the difference.

"We've got to play defense," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We had a couple opportunities to make some plays and didn't, and it cost us."

Jordany Valdespin delivered a pinch-hit home run for the Marlins, who have dropped three straight to fall to 65-68. Miami is 2-5 on the road trip, and the team sits six games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot.

"You don't want to say you have to play mistake-free baseball," Miami starter Tom Koehler said. "But every mistake right now is going to be magnified, because we're playing for something. I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Oh, we lost today, now we're out of it, we're done.' As we've shown all year, we're going to come back tomorrow and keep battling."

Momentum swung in Atlanta's favor in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the game tied at 2, Andrelton Simmons dropped a bunt single against Chris Hatcher, and pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena was awarded a single on a line drive that went off Garrett Jones' glove at first base. The hit put runners on the corners with no outs, and had Jones wondering what happened, because he likely would have been able to turn a double play.

"I thought I had it," the Marlins first baseman said. "I thought it went right in the glove, and somehow it rolled out. I thought it might have gone through the webbing, because it kind of felt like it had hit the meat of the pocket."

Lefty Mike Dunn relieved Hatcher to face Heyward, who chopped an RBI single on a grounder just past shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who was playing in.

"I was just going up there and trying to keep it simple," said Heyward, batting .375 (21-for-56) against Miami this year. "At that point, we're trying to put the ball in play wherever it is and not do too much."

Sam Dyson, Miami's third pitcher used in the inning, allowed an RBI single to Upton, who swatted the ball up the middle with the count full. A second run scored on center fielder Marcell Ozuna's error.

Miami led, 1-0, in the sixth inning before Koehler gave up a two-run homer to Upton.

"The team did a great job battling and getting me a run," Koehler said. "To just give it back like that, I put this game on me. That's a big zero right there. Who knows? [With] the momentum we carry back into the dugout, and maybe we get some more runs after that. It's just unfortunate."

Atlanta cashed in on Koehler's leadoff walk to Freddie Freeman, who drew a free pass after being down 1-2 in the count. On a 1-1 pitch, Upton laced a no-doubt, two-run homer to center. It was the Atlanta slugger's 26th shot of the season, and it helped up his RBI total to 91 by the end of the night.

Miami tied it at 2 in the seventh inning on Valdespin's pinch-hit home run, an opposite-field shot to left.

The game had been scoreless until the sixth inning, when Ozuna hit an RBI double that remained just fair inside the right-field line. Casey McGehee got the inning rolling with a single, and he moved to second on Jones' single.

McGehee scored easily on Ozuna's double, but Jones was thrown out at the plate by second baseman Tommy La Stella, who relayed Heyward's throw from the wall.

"You know coming in here that runs are going to be tight and every play is going to count," Redmond said.


Capps, Jennings likely to join expanding roster

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ATLANTA -- When rosters are eligible to expand on Monday, the Marlins are expected to make a handful of additions.

The most influential callups are expected to be relievers Carter Capps and Dan Jennings. The target is for both to be ready for Monday, but that will become more definite by the end of the weekend.

Capps has been out since May with a right elbow injury, and Jennings sustained a concussion after being struck in the head by a line drive at Pittsburgh on Aug. 7.

Jennings pitched Friday night in a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Jupiter, and Capps is scheduled to throw on Saturday with the Hammerheads.

Because the Marlins aren't likely to make a deal by Sunday's waiver period trade deadline, the most significant additions will come from within.

Capps, who last pitched for Miami on May 25, has the chance to become a significant impact player down the stretch. Jennings is a lefty option.

"It gives us some more cushion, having more arms," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's always nice for every team in September to bring extra guys up. No doubt, it's the same for us. We'll have some guys who can pitch more innings and take some pressure off the guys we've had to rely so heavily on the whole year. That always strengthens your bullpen."

The Marlins' bullpen has been used heavily, logging 423 1/3 innings, which is the fifth most in the Majors.

In recent days, the Marlins received a scare when reliever Bryan Morris returned from Anaheim to Miami to have his right hip examined. It was determined that Morris has a groin strain, and he should be available on Monday as well.

The Marlins have four relievers who rank among the top 60 in the Majors in appearances. Mike Dunn paces the team with 62 appearances, followed by Steve Cishek (57), Morris (56) and A.J. Ramos (55).


End of August represents benchmark in turnaround

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ATLANTA -- Like last year, the Marlins closed out August with a series with the Braves at Turner Field. Not much else is like a year ago for Miami now.

The Marlins entered the weekend at 65-67, and an achievable 5 1/2 games out in the National League Wild Card chase. This time in 2013, Miami was 49-83 and a whopping 27 1/2 games out in the Wild Card standings.

So to be playing meaningful games is a major step forward for a young Marlins squad that is seeking to remain relevant for as long as possible.

"This is what it's all about, to be at the end of August and the start of September, and being able to play in important games where there is pressure and focus on every play ... big hits, and all those things that come with pressure games," manager Mike Redmond said. "We have a lot of guys who have been in these situations, but a lot of guys, younger guys, who haven't. It's kind of hard to describe to people who haven't been part of it, but it's a feeling."

What the Marlins are seeking to get out of this last month is understanding what the moment is all about.

"You have to really be in it to truly feel what it's like, that pressure of having to get a big hit or having to make a pitch," Redmond said. "That's all good stuff. That's stuff, no doubt, we didn't have any chance of capturing it last year, because of where we were. But it's been exciting in just a year to be sitting here, playing meaningful games, playing in pressure situations, and watching these guys go out there and compete."


Marlins in win-now mode for stretch run

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ATLANTA -- A month remains in the regular season, and the Marlins find themselves in a position very few outside of the organization thought would be possible.

Four weeks to the finish, and the Marlins are in the National League Wild Card mix. Granted, they're a long shot, but the fact they're even in the playoff conversation shows the tremendous strides the club has taken since dropping 100 games in 2013.

This time last year, there were so many unanswered questions -- especially around an offense that ranked last in the Majors in runs scored. Where would the production come from? And could the young pitching, the bright spot in an otherwise dim year, continue to progress?

The proof is in the standings. As startling as it may sound, Miami will be playing meaningful games in September.

"That was the goal," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We've said from Day 1, we were looking to improve our offense. We always felt like we would be strong with our pitching. If you pitch well and get timely hitting, you've got a chance to win."

Time is running out, but the Marlins (65-67) are clinging to a playoff chance. They start a three-game set at Atlanta on Friday after going 2-4 at the Rockies and Angels.

What's next? Hill assesses the state of the team heading into the final month. Here's a checklist of five things the front office is weighing.

Is a last-minute trade possible?

It's doubtful. The waiver Trade Deadline is Sunday night, and Monday is the first day that rosters can be expanded.

The team is monitoring the market, but any additional help will likely come from within.

"If there was an area that we felt like we could add, we'd look into it," Hill said. "Obviously, we're always looking for ways to improve our roster. But I would say, what you see is what you get, and hopefully we can get some guys healthy."

Relief help on the way?

The bullpen took a hit when it was revealed on Tuesday that Bryan Morris returned to Miami to get his right hip examined.

The prognosis is encouraging. Morris has a groin strain, and he shouldn't miss extended time.

Relievers Dan Jennings (concussion) and Carter Capps (right elbow) are expected to return early next month.

"We hope they will be nice adds for a September run," Hill said.

Winning now vs. evaluating?

With each game being crucial to the standings, the Marlins' emphasis is on results over giving playing time to either prospects or young players.

"The whole year is part of that evaluation process," Hill said. "For us, I think it's a little bit different in that we're trying to win up here. We might not to be so inclined to go young or give innings or at-bats to a young guy, because we're competing for a playoff spot. From that standpoint, [September] changes a little bit, because we are trying to be one of 10."

Andrew Heaney an option?

If a starting pitcher is needed, lefty Andrew Heaney could be an option. But he doesn't sound like a priority. The Marlins' top prospect did get a taste of the big leagues, and the 23-year-old struggled in four starts before he was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in July.

Unless Heaney has a clear role and could help Miami reach its postseason goal, it is doubtful he will get the September call.

"It's going to depend on what we think his usage is going to be," Hill said. "If we don't see an opportunity for him to pitch and get what he needs to help his continued development, then it might be a case where we just start him on his offseason program and get him bigger and stronger and have him ready for go for Spring Training."

How many callups to expect when rosters expand?

Just because rosters are eligible to expand on Monday doesn't mean Miami will bring up an excessive amount of players.

Foremost, the team is looking at players who can help it win now. So expect roughly three or four early callups. Typically, an extra catcher is included. So backstop J.T. Realmuto is a likely to join a few relievers.

"It will be nice to have some extra bodies here," Hill said.


Stanton clarifies remark, maintains stance on future

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ANAHEIM -- Speculation is coming at a rapid rate, but there is one constant about Giancarlo Stanton's stance when it comes to questions about his future. The Marlins slugger is dealing in the here and now. Anything else must wait.

The two-time All-Star isn't leaning one way or the other about if he is interested in a multi-year deal with the Marlins.

Stanton has been very consistent on this point, making it clear before Spring Training that he was taking a wait-and-see approach.

On Monday, more speculation surfaced when Stanton was quoted in a story by Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports as saying: "Five months doesn't change five years."

That comment has been taken as Stanton wants out of Miami.

Stanton clarified what he meant to Marlins beat reporters on Wednesday.He said he was summing up his mindset from when he was first called up in 2010 to now. There have been tough times, including three straight last-place finishes, plus a 100-loss season in 2013.

Stanton says that doesn't mean he is unhappy in Miami or that he doesn't believe the organization can't become an attractive place to play.

"That does not mean there's more bad to come," Stanton said. "That does not mean there's more good to come."

Stanton is being careful with his words because he doesn't want to come across as saying he wants to stay long term or leave. That topic is for another day.

The slugger, who paces the National League in homers (33) and RBIs (97), will further evaluate his situation in the offseason. The Marlins are expected to present Stanton's agent, Joel Wolfe, with a multi-year offer.

If no extension is finalized, Stanton will be arbitration-eligible through 2016. The Marlins have no interest in trading the NL MVP candidate, even if a multi-year contract isn't reached.

Assessing the Marlins as of now, the team is on the fringe of NL Wild Card contention and has bonded together nicely.

"We're here," Stanton said. "Were in a good spot. This is where we are now. There is no, 'Am I staying forever, am I leaving forever?' There is no answer to that."


Rare Hech homer not enough to pick up Alvarez

Marlins shut down after dinger; righty allows two HRs on rough night

Rare Hech homer not enough to pick up Alvarez play video for Rare Hech homer not enough to pick up Alvarez

ANAHEIM -- In his 117th game and 431st at-bat, Adeiny Hechavarria connected on his first home run of the season Wednesday night. Naturally, the Miami shortstop was met by the mandatory "silent treatment" in the dugout.

Unfortunately for the Marlins, their offense remained silent the rest of the night.

Hector Santiago yielded one run in 5 2/3 innings and Mike Trout belted a homer and drove in two runs to lift the Angels to a 6-1 win over the Marlins.

For a brief moment, it appeared Hechavarria's home run was the beginning of what could have been a promising night for Miami.

"I thought that would kind of be the spark for us, but then we come back and give up three," manager Mike Redmond said. "It seems like we don't respond really well, and we get down and have to climb back from a big number. That seems to put a lot more pressure on our offense, for whatever reason."

The quick-strike Angels were able to get to Henderson Alvarez for three runs in the third inning, and Miami was in trouble the rest of the way. Gordon Beckham also homered.

"Tough lineup," Alvarez said. "This is a lineup you've got to go hitter by hitter and make your pitches. All you can do is go out there and do the best you can. Unfortunately today, the results didn't come out."

Alvarez (10-6) had a string of four straight victories come to an end, and Miami ended up dropping two of three in the series after winning, 7-1, on Monday. The right-hander was lifted after giving up a home run to Trout in the seventh inning.

The five earned runs are the most Alvarez has given up since being tagged for six at the Mets on July 11.

Now 65-67, the Marlins are 2-4 on the road trip, which moves on to Atlanta for three games beginning Friday.

"The season is not over," third baseman Casey McGehee said. "We still have a long way to go. I think the off-day is coming at a good time for us. It's a tough road trip. Hopefully we can keep above water before we go home and see what happens."

Santiago scattered three hits and struck out six before exiting after 93 pitches.

For Alvarez, the home run has victimized him in each of his last two starts. And the Miami right-hander entered the night having three straight shutouts against an Interleague opponent.

In his previous start, a 13-5 win at Colorado, Alvarez also was taken deep twice. For the season, Alvarez has allowed 12 homers. A year ago, in 102 2/3 innings, he gave up just two.

"Just pitches up in the zone that I left up," Alvarez said.

The Angels grinded out eight hits and never allowed Miami to get back into the game.

"They're a pretty good team," McGehee said. "The first night, it was nice to get off to a good start. They pitched really well. They've got a lineup that I feel like is a pretty veteran lineup that grinds out at-bats really good. They work counts. They put a lot of pressure on us, and we weren't able to hang in there."

Hechavarria's home run drought finally came to an end. With the count full in the third inning, he took Santiago deep to center. Upon returning to the dugout, Hechavarria found all of his teammates atop the steps or sitting next to the rail.

It also was Hechavarria's first homer since Sept. 4, 2013, against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, a span of 141 games and 516 at-bats between blasts.

After Hechavarria's homer, Santiago settled, striking out five straight and retiring eight in a row.

Miami's one-run lead was short-lived as the Angels responded with three runs in the third inning. Trout had an RBI single, while Albert Pujols drove in a run on a groundout and Josh Hamilton doubled in a run high off the wall in right.

"We definitely were tested here," Redmond said. "We came out the first night and pitched really well and hit really well. We just weren't able to do that the last two nights."

{"content":["injury" ] }

Morris has groin strain, but could return soon

Morris has groin strain, but could return soon

ANAHEIM -- The Marlins received some encouraging news regarding reliever Bryan Morris.

After being examined back in Miami, the hard-throwing right-hander was diagnosed with a strained right groin, and the club is hopeful he won't miss an extended period of time.

Used in a setup role to closer Steve Cishek, Morris experienced some discomfort after pitching on Saturday night at Colorado. He returned to Miami on Tuesday, and the team initially called it a right hip issue.

The reliever's status is day to day.

"He will stay in Miami and get treatment the next couple of days, and then we'll see how he feels," manager Mike Redmond said.

The Marlins wrap up a three-game series at the Angels on Wednesday. The club is off on Thursday before facing the Braves for three games at Turner Field this weekend.

Redmond didn't rule out Morris being available for the Atlanta series.

"It's just a matter of calming it down," Redmond said. "It's really on him as far as when he will be ready to pitch."

Miami acquired Morris from the Pirates on June 1 for a Competitive Balance pick in the First-Year Player Draft.

The right-hander has a 7-0 record and a 1.76 ERA in his time with the Pirates and Marlins this season. Morris has had scoreless outings in 31 of his 35 appearances since joining Miami.

"Hopefully it's not a long-term deal," Redmond said. "We're anticipating it will not be. But you never know. We'll see how he reacts to the treatments the next couple of days."

A.J. Ramos, Mike Dunn and Chris Hatcher are eighth-inning options with Morris out.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Yelich reflects on youth camps run by Scioscia

Yelich reflects on youth camps run by Scioscia play video for Yelich reflects on youth camps run by Scioscia

ANAHEIM -- Growing up in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Christian Yelich regularly attended games at Dodger Stadium. But dating back to when the Marlins left fielder was 8-years-old, he had a connection to the other baseball team in Los Angeles.

In his early seasons playing youth baseball, Yelich attended camps run by Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

"I've got pictures with him," Yelich said. "I have a couple of signed baseballs."

Southern California is certainly an area rich in baseball talent. Yelich is now a rising star on a long list.

In the Marlins' 7-1 win over the Angels on Monday night at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Yelich had three hits, including a double that missed clearing the wall in right field by inches.

Facing the Angels is a reminder to Yelich that 14 years ago he participated in Scioscia's camps.

Yelich graduated from Westlake Village High School in 2010. Scioscia is still a Westlake resident.

The Marlins selected Yelich with the 23rd overall pick in the in 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and he reached the big leagues last July.

In May of this year, Yelich made his first big league trip to the West Coast, when the Marlins visited the Padres, Dodgers and Giants.

Dodger Stadium is closer to his home, about 40 minutes away, compared to a couple of hours drive to Anaheim.

"I've come to a few games here," Yelich said. "I went to the All-Star Game in 2010 before I signed. I went to four or five games here. But I live way closer to Dodger Stadium."


Big frame dooms Eovaldi in Marlins' loss

Righty allows six runs -- five in fourth -- in 3 1/3; Miami stifled until 9th

Big frame dooms Eovaldi in Marlins' loss play video for Big frame dooms Eovaldi in Marlins' loss

ANAHEIM -- Avoiding the big inning has been an issue of late for Nathan Eovaldi. It plagued the Marlins' right-hander once again on Tuesday night.

The big damage off Eovaldi came in a five-run fourth inning that propelled the Angels to an 8-2 victory over the Marlins at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Eovaldi was charged with six runs on 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings, his shortest stint of the season.

"Extremely discouraging," said Eovaldi, who fell to 6-9 on the season. "Really frustrating. I'm just going through a rough little rut right now. Keep grinding and work through it."

Mike Trout had three hits and an RBI, and Albert Pujols added three hits and two RBIs for the Angels, who rebounded after the Marlins took Monday's opener, 7-1.

Eovaldi has won just one of his last seven decisions, and Miami is counting on him down the stretch.

"To be able to win games at the big league level, you've got to be able to pitch," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's got a great arm, but eventually you've got to start executing some pitches and stay away from contact and big innings. That's what has been tough for him."

Boosted by an early lead, Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker cruised through seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six.

"He was good," Redmond said of the Angels' right-hander. "He was able to throw some breaking balls. He's got a nice split-finger. He's good. He's got good stuff. He pitched really well."

The Marlins didn't have a runner reach as far as second base until the eighth inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia's two-out RBI double in the ninth inning put Miami on the board, and Ed Lucas followed with an RBI single. The Marlins have gone 57 straight games without being shut out, the longest active streak in the Majors.

There is growing concern for Eovaldi, who is now 0-3 with a 7.54 ERA (12 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings) in his last three starts. The hard-throwing right-hander also has given up 27 hits in those starts.

"It's definitely concerning," Redmond said. "Three innings. It makes it tough to win a ballgame. We're in crunch time where every start is big and every one of these games is big. It's a missed opportunity for us. We've got to have guys step up and log those innings. It's a tough toll on our bullpen when we've got to eat up six innings."

A year ago, Eovaldi missed the first few months with a right shoulder injury. He ended up throwing 106 total innings in 2013. In 27 starts this year, Eovaldi has now logged 165 1/3 innings, but he insists he is fine physically.

"My arm feels great," the right-hander said. "I feel 100 percent right now. Probably the best I've felt in my career. No issues."

The fourth inning fell apart quickly. Erick Aybar walked to open the inning, but on a ball in the dirt, Aybar was thrown out trying to advance to second base.

From there, Eovaldi surrendered five straight hits, including an RBI single by Efren Navarro and an RBI double by Trout. Sam Dyson replaced Eovaldi, inheriting runners on second and third for Pujols, who slapped the first pitch into center field, bringing home two more runs.

"There were a few pitches that were located pretty well, and they fell for hits," Eovaldi said. "But there were pitches up in the zone or down the middle that they were getting hits on. They were swinging early on the fastball. Again, it's just being able to locate offspeed pitches to get them off fastballs."

Miami has now fallen to 65-66 on a night the National League East's leaders -- the Nationals and Braves -- both lost.

The first inning also has given Eovaldi trouble for most of the season. It was problematic again on Tuesday night.

Eovaldi struck out three in the inning, but he also allowed three singles, which led to the Angels taking an early lead.

Trout, hitless in four at-bats on Monday, singled to right to get the rally started. He moved to third on Pujols' single to center. With runners at the corners and two outs, Howie Kendrick's run-scoring single to right put the Angels on the board.

Eovaldi has now allowed 17 earned runs in the first inning in 27 starts, bumping up his ERA in the inning to 5.67.

"He's leaving too many pitches up in the zone," Redmond said. "That's been going on for a few starts now. He's going to need to make an adjustment. Maybe throw inside a little more and keep guys off his fastball. His last couple of starts have been tough."

{"content":["transactions" ] }

Dietrich off DL, optioned by Marlins to Triple-A

Second baseman primed to be called up when rosters expand on Monday

Dietrich off DL, optioned by Marlins to Triple-A play video for Dietrich off DL, optioned by Marlins to Triple-A

ANAHEIM -- The Marlins reinstated Derek Dietrich from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday afternoon and optioned the second baseman to Triple-A New Orleans.

The transaction puts Dietrich in position to be a callup when MLB rosters expand on Monday.

Miami's Opening Day second baseman, Dietrich last played in a big league game on July 1. He's been out since with a right wrist sprain.

In 49 games for the Marlins, the left-handed-hitting infielder batted .228 with five home runs and 17 RBIs.

Dietrich was optioned to New Orleans in the first half, and in 14 games for the Zephyrs, he batted .345 with seven home runs.

Before being reinstated, Dietrich appeared in five rehab-assignment games with Class A Jupiter, going 5-for-16 with a home run and two RBIs. He went 2-for-5 with a homer for New Orleans on Monday.

Dietrich is a candidate to compete for the second-base job next year.

{"content":["transactions" ] }
{"content":["transactions" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

DeSclafani heads Marlins contingent in AFL

DeSclafani heads Marlins contingent in AFL play video for DeSclafani heads Marlins contingent in AFL

ANAHEIM -- Anthony DeSclafani got a taste of the big leagues this season, making five starts and appearing in seven games with the Marlins. In the offseason, the 24-year-old will get an opportunity to polish up his game in the Arizona Fall League.

DeSclafani is one of seven Marlins prospects heading to the AFL to play for the Salt River Rafters.

"It's just a way to get him more innings," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.

DeSclafani's season was mixed with stints up in the big leagues and back in the Minors. It resulted in stretches of going from frequent use to seldom use.

"He missed a few opportunities to start and get some innings," Hill said. "We just wanted to give him the workload to give him a full season of innings and continue his pitch development."

Managing the Rafters will be Andy Haines, the Marlins' Triple-A New Orleans manager.

Prospects from the Marlins, Astros, D-backs, Rockies and Twins will be on the Salt River squad.

DeSclafani is one of four Miami Minor League pitchers going to Arizona. Joining him will be lefties Raudel Lazo and Edgar Olmos, who was called up to the big leagues for one day before being optioned back to New Orleans.

Reid Redman, a right-hander, rounds out the pitchers.

Catcher Chad Wallach, the son of Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach, is on the Salt River roster, as are infielders Austin Nola and Justin Bohn.

Opening Day for the Arizona Fall League is Oct. 7.

{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"content":["injury" ] }

Injured hip likely to cost Morris rest of road trip

Reliever sent to Miami for evaluation; Miami hopeful injury isn't too series

Injured hip likely to cost Morris rest of road trip play video for Injured hip likely to cost Morris rest of road trip

ANAHEIM -- Feeling some discomfort in his right hip, Marlins reliever Bryan Morris was sent back to Miami on Tuesday for further evaluation.

Morris has helped solidify the eighth inning, but the hard-throwing right-hander experienced some discomfort after pitching in Colorado on Saturday.

"We're going to get it checked out," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "I don't want to jump to any conclusions."

The team remains hopeful the issue isn't serious, but Morris isn't expected to return for the rest of the road trip, which includes the remainder of the series against the Angels -- which concludes Wednesday night -- as well as a weekend set in Atlanta.

"I'm hoping it is only a couple of days," Hill said.

Morris has worked in the eighth inning, as have A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn.

Rosters expand on Monday, and the Marlins can bring up more pitching depth then. The team is hoping Carter Capps will return from the disabled list in early September.

The Marlins acquired Morris from the Pirates on June 1 for a Competitive Balance pick in the First-Year Player Draft. With Miami, he's thrown 37 2/3 innings while posting a 0.48 ERA.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Stanton, Trout offer praise before first meeting

Stanton, Trout offer praise before first meeting play video for Stanton, Trout offer praise before first meeting

ANAHEIM -- More than an Interleague series is taking place at Angel Stadium this week. The three-game set that began on Monday very well might be matching two players that will go on to win their respective league's Most Valuable Player Awards.

For the first time in the regular season, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins and Mike Trout of the Angels were on the same field. The only other occasion they were together was at the All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota.

Trout and Stanton are two of the young faces of Major League Baseball.

"I think it's great for baseball," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "You've got two dynamic young players playing on the same field. I know I'm excited to watch and be part of it. Hopefully our guy puts on great show."

Stanton, 24, is enjoying his finest season -- batting .299 while pacing the National League in home runs (32) and RBIs (94).

Trout, 23, is hitting .289 with 29 homers and 91 RBIs. He's widely regarded as the best all-around player in the sport.

Stanton praises Trout's vast talents.

"It's the future of the game with him," Stanton said. "He can do stuff on the baseball field not too many people can. And if they can, they can only do one aspect of it. And he can do all of it."

Stanton is regarded as the most powerful slugger in the game. But the man with the home run measured the longest this season by ESPN's Home Run Tracker is Trout.

On June 27, Trout belted a drive measured at 489 feet. Stanton is second at 484 feet, a home run he hit at Marlins Park on April 4.

Stanton's average distance per homer, according to Home Run Tracker, is 417.1 feet. Technically, that is second to Mike Morse of the Giants, who averages 417.4 feet for his 16 homers.

Trout's average is 413.5 feet.

While Trout has the longest homer of the season, Stanton has three drives in the top eight. On Aug. 11, the Marlins right fielder had a home run measured at 470 feet (sixth farthest), and earlier in the season, he had another at 469 feet (eighth).

Stanton has 10 "no-doubt" homers, to Trout's seven.

When discussing Stanton, Trout paraphrased David Price, who has noted that the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Stanton is like a player created in a video game.

Stanton laughs at the analogy.

"I remember I'd create players back in the day," Stanton said. "That would be football, though. They'd be 100 on all cylinders, on all attributes."

Being a real-life video game figure doesn't bother Stanton a bit.

"Hey, why not?" he said.


Stanton's 150th backs Cosart's stifling of Angels

Three-run shot caps Miami scoring behind righty, who allows just a run

Stanton's 150th backs Cosart's stifling of Angels play video for Stanton's 150th backs Cosart's stifling of Angels

ANAHEIM -- Giancarlo Stanton has dominated the National League all season. On Monday night, the slugger did some damage in an American League park.

Stanton blistered a three-run home run, which became the knockout blow in the Marlins' 7-1 victory over the Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

The All-Star right fielder now has 33 homers and 97 RBIs, both tops in the National League.

Christian Yelich chipped in with three hits and two runs scored, giving Jarred Cosart plenty of support to win his second game since being acquired from the Astros on July 31.

Stanton's big blast put the club at ease, and it set the tone for Miami in the series opener.

"He killed that ball," Cosart said of Stanton. "I've never seen guys hit balls that hard anywhere. Obviously, he's somebody you want in your lineup, and I wouldn't want to face him on a regular basis. It just made me more comfortable."

Cosart, who lost twice to the Angels this season while with Houston, was brilliant in 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run on seven hits with four strikeouts.

"The first couple of innings, you could just see it in his face," manager Mike Redmond said of his starting pitcher. "He was focused. His tempo, he was commanding his pitches. He was ahead of every single guy. It was impressive and fun to watch. You could tell he was on a mission."

The Marlins climbed back to .500 (65-65) after dropping two of three at Colorado, and they improved to 13-5 in Interleague Play, the best mark of any NL club. Miami enjoyed a smooth victory over the team that entered the night with the best record in the Majors. The Angels are now 77-53, which drops them into a first-place tie with the A's in the AL West.

The game marked the first time in the regular season that Stanton and Mike Trout were on the same field. The two are frontrunners for the MVP Award in each league.

Stanton didn't disappoint, clubbing his three-run homer off Cory Rasmus in a four-run fourth inning.

Angel Stadium of Anaheim becomes the 21st different ballpark in which Stanton has homered. The blast was career No. 150 for the Miami slugger. Stanton is the 10th youngest player to reach the milestone, pushing Frank Robinson down the list to 11.

Stanton connected at 24 years, 290 days old. Robinson, a Hall of Famer, did it at 24 years, 326 days old. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two active players were younger than Stanton to reach the 150-homer mark -- Albert Pujols (24, 212 days) and Alex Rodriguez (24, 255).

It wasn't until after the game, when the ball was retrieved and given to the slugger, that Stanton found out he reached a milestone.

More than the personal achievement, Stanton noted the homer pushed the game out of reach early.

"A four-run game and a seven-run game is night and day," Stanton said. "Because they scored that one run. Otherwise, you would end up needing your closer in the later innings. They could put on three or four runs in an inning, too, with no problem. That was a big punch."

The three-run blast to left-center padded Miami's lead to 7-0, and Cosart cruised from there.

"There's no doubt he's mega-talented," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Stanton. "A lot of the stuff he does reminds you of a lot of different people -- anyone from Vlad Guerrero to Mike Trout. He does a lot of good things well in the field, and [I] can see why he's such a terrific ballplayer."

The Angels started Wade LeBlanc, the left-hander who was with the Marlins for the early part of 2013. LeBlanc actually was making his first big league start since last May 6 for Miami in a loss to San Diego. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings, being charged with six runs on seven hits.

Miami was able to break through for three runs in the third inning, and the rally got going with a leadoff walk to Donovan Solano. Reed Johnson snapped an 0-for-15 slump with a single to right. Yelich's RBI single to center opened the scoring.

Stanton was intentionally walked with one out to load the bases, and Marcell Ozuna, moved to the cleanup spot for the first time this year, delivered a sacrifice fly to right field. Casey McGehee, not hitting fourth for the first time since April 23, slapped a run-scoring single to center.

"They told me before the game they were going to give me some runs," Cosart said. "I just wanted to go out there and keep us in the game. I got a huge lead early. Obviously, that made it a lot easier on me."


Red-hot Ozuna cleans up; McGehee down to fifth

Red-hot Ozuna cleans up; McGehee down to fifth play video for Red-hot Ozuna cleans up; McGehee down to fifth

ANAHEIM -- There is no disputing the impact Casey McGehee has made on the Marlins' lineup. The veteran has offered a professional approach, driving in huge runs all season and providing protection in the cleanup spot behind Giancarlo Stanton.

But since the All-Star break, McGehee had driven in just eight runs entering Monday, including two in August.

With McGehee hitting .247 in August, manager Mike Redmond opted to make a change with his No. 4 hitter. Marcell Ozuna entered on a nine-game tear, batting .405 with three homers, four doubles and 11 RBIs. So in the series opener on Monday at Anaheim Stadium, Ozuna was moved to the cleanup spot for the first time all season. McGehee, who hit fourth in 114 games, was dropped to fifth.

Ozuna drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and McGehee plated a run with a single in Miami's 7-1 series-opening victory.

"You always think about that, are you giving the guy [Ozuna] too much?" Redmond said before the game. "But at the end of the day, the numbers are the numbers. He's hitting and he's driving in runs. Hopefully he continues that. We've got nothing to lose. We're trying to win ballgames and score runs."

After dropping two of three at Colorado, the Marlins' playoff hopes took a hit. There is a sense of urgency to get more production.

Ozuna entered Monday second to Stanton on the team in homers (19) and RBIs (70).

"When he's going good, you want him up to the plate with the most guys on base," Redmond said. "He's been hitting. He's been driving in runs and getting big hits. It seems like a perfect time to get our hottest hitter hitting behind 'G.'

"We've had a tough time driving in those runs. We need to drive runs in to win those ballgames."

Ozuna, 23, has been used up and down Miami's lineup. Before Monday, the only spots he didn't hit was leadoff and cleanup. But in the Minor Leagues, he had experience cleaning up. As a rookie last year, he appeared in 41 games in the No. 4 spot. He batted .255 with no homers and 13 RBIs.

Having Stanton hitting third and Ozuna fourth could be a preview of next season's middle of the order.

McGehee, who has one more season left in arbitration, is expected to return to Miami next year.

The 31-year-old has enjoyed a strong season, batting .295 with 62 RBIs.

"Guys go through spurts or funks, and he's probably in a little bit of that right now," Redmond said. "But at the end of the day, the guy has done a great job for us. He's had a ton of big hits for us."

{"content":["replay" ] }

Replay confirms Yelich just short of home run

Replay confirms Yelich just short of home run play video for Replay confirms Yelich just short of home run

ANAHEIM -- Christian Yelich was denied a home run in the sixth inning by mere inches on Monday night. Not even instant replay was able to give the Marlins left fielder a boost.

Yelich opened the sixth inning with a long drive off Angels right-hander Cory Rasmus. The liner to right field hit high off the wall at the yellow stripe.

The ball clanked off the wall and returned to the field of play, and Yelich coasted into second base with a double.

Because borderline home runs are automatically subject to review, Miami manager Mike Redmond requested one. The crew-chief review took place, and after 57 seconds, the ruling on the field was confirmed.

Even though Yelich didn't pick up his 10th homer of the season, the Miami leadoff hitter did have his third hit of the night.

{"content":["replay" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

Realmuto builds case for September callup

Realmuto builds case for September callup play video for Realmuto builds case for September callup

DENVER -- Double-A Jacksonville catcher J.T. Realmuto continued his September callup campaign Saturday by finishing 1-for-4 with two walks, three RBIs and his eighth home run of the season.

Realmuto, the Marlins' No. 7 prospect according to MLB.com, has had two brief stints with the big league club this season, going 4-for-20 with five RBIs in seven games. But the former high school quarterback has made huge offensive strides at the Double-A level this season, raising his average from .239 in 2013 to .298 this year.

On Friday, Marlins manager Mike Redmond singled out catcher as one of the positions Miami wants to bolster when the rosters expand in September. And considering the Marlins' willingness to let him jump Triple-A twice this season, Realmuto seems like a prime callup candidate.

Through 90 games, Realmuto's 61 RBIs, 61 runs, five triples and 17 stolen bases lead all Southern League catchers.

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Cishek seeks to right ship amid August troubles

Cishek seeks to right ship amid August troubles play video for Cishek seeks to right ship amid August troubles

DENVER -- Sometimes, one wrong pitch to the right batter is all it takes to flip the entire perception of a player.

Right-hander Steve Cishek entered Saturday having allowed five earned runs in seven August opportunities. But because he had managed to convert all four of his save opportunities this month and 11 consecutive overall, Cishek's struggles were looked at as more of a rough patch than any serious cause for concern.

That all changed when he left a ball in Corey Dickerson's sweet spot to blow his fourth save Saturday.

"He yanked it," manager Mike Redmond said of Cishek's pitch to Dickerson. "I actually thought his last couple [appearances] have been pretty crisp. … But it probably got to him a little bit, giving him up the home run."

With a chance to move the Marlins to two games over .500 for the first time since June 17, Cishek was disappointed.

"These are all must wins, and when you're trying to climb back in this thing and have a team on the ropes, you should be able to put them away," Cishek said. "Unfortunately, I left a good pitch to hit to a pure fastball hitter and he got all of it."

Even with a slider he described as "a cement-mixer," Cishek said Saturday was the best he's felt "in a long time."

The Marlins offense gave Cishek a break in Friday's series opener by producing 13 runs, but despite not pitching since Tuesday, he couldn't find a way to turn a corner. And after Saturday's outing, opponents are now hitting .417 against him with four walks this month.

"I don't really have an explanation for what's going on," Cishek said. "It's just a fact that I need be able to locate my pitches better, get ahead of hitters and attack like I did earlier in the year."


Hand turns in rocky outing as Marlins drop finale

Left-hander pitches into fifth after allowing pair of first-inning homers

Hand turns in rocky outing as Marlins drop finale play video for Hand turns in rocky outing as Marlins drop finale

DENVER -- Marlins manager Mike Redmond had his pick of two Brads to start the rubber match against the Rockies. As it turned out, they both proved to be ineffective options in the Marlins' 7-4 loss to the Rockies Sunday at Coors Field.

Left-hander Brad Hand got the nod but lasted only 4 1/3, allowing seven hits, four runs and three walks. In mop-up duty, right-hander Brad Penny didn't fare much better, surrendering three runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings of work in the series finale.

The defeat came on a day which all four National League teams in the Wild Card standings ahead of the Marlins also lost.

"I guess [it's a blown opportunity], but at the same time, I guess it's a blessing if you're going to drop one and everyone else is too," Casey McGehee said after the Marlins fell back to a game under .500.

Hand dug the Marlins in a hole starting in the first. Charlie Blackmon led the inning off with a single to set up Nolan Arenado's two-run homer to left-center. Two batters later, Michael McKenry tacked onto that total with a solo shot.

"I gave [the Rockies] a three-run lead in the first inning and when I put my team in that situation, it's hard to come back from," Hand said.

The Marlins got two back in the second when Jeff Mathis' double brought home Adeiny Hechavarria following his one-out triple. Christian Yelich followed by singling home Mathis to complete the Marlins' first of two two-run rallies.

In the fourth, Hechavarria found himself on third again after Blackmon lost his hit in the sun. But with Mathis and Hand grounding out and Yelich striking out, the Marlins were unable to capitalize on the leadoff triple.

After erupting for 13 runs on 16 hits in series opener Friday, the Marlins totaled 23 hits over the next two games but could only produce eight runs.

"We had some more opportunities to help ourselves out and score some runs," Remond said "You've got to do that in this ballpark. ... Four runs in this ballpark is just not enough."

Hand's command issues put an end to his day in the fifth when he dished out three free passes, including one that walked in a run. After he barely missed Blackmon's head with one pitch and plunked Arenado's elbow with another, manager Mike Redmond had seen enough.

To clean up the bases-loaded mess, Redmond called on Penny, the same pitcher he picked Hand over to start Sunday's game. Penny induced a shallow fly ball and a weak grounder to keep it at a 4-2 deficit.

But with the bases loaded again the seventh, Penny couldn't repeat his magic. After Drew Stubbs' RBI double in the previous inning, DJ LeMahieu's double brought home two more to break open a three-run lead.

The Marlins' only other offensive outburst came in top of the same frame. They scored two on three consecutive hits in the seventh cut it to a 5-4 ballgame, but that's as close as Miami would get before Penny gave both runs back.

Redmond could have pinch hit-for Penny to start that inning but choose to stick with the long man to give a break to a worn-out bullpen.

"We needed some innings out of him," Redmond said. "It's wasn't perfect, but we played 13 innings [Saturday] so you've got to get as much out of guys as you can. He was our freshest arm."

In his return from a fractured glove hand that cost him over two months, Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman scattered nine hits, hanging in for 6 1/3 innings despite allowing four runs to earn his first career victory.


Redmond marvels at Hechavarria's run-saving grab

Redmond marvels at Hechavarria's run-saving grab play video for Redmond marvels at Hechavarria's run-saving grab

DENVER -- When Marlins manager Mike Redmond saw the ball come off Justin Morneau's bat, all he could think was "this thing is over."

Morneau's bloop in the 12th inning of Saturday night's 5-4, 13-inning loss was hardly picturesque, but it was the type of ball that could only mean trouble. And when Redmond observed how deep Marcell Ozuna was playing, he instantly knew that getting under the ball would be impossible, even for his speedy center fielder.

As his brain swirled to process what seemed destined to be a walk-off single, Redmond hardly had a chance to focus on the gravity-bending play that was unfolding in front of him. But as soon as shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria came down with the grab in no-man's land, Redmond remembered who he was dealing with.

"That's Hech right there," Redmond said. "He comes out of nowhere to make a huge play, a game-saving play."

Unfortunately for Hechavarria and the Marlins, his unforgettable heroics only delayed the inevitable. The Rockies capped off their late-inning comeback with Corey Dickerson's walk-off single in the 13th. But even when the dust settled, Hechavarria's manager still couldn't fathom what he saw.

"I don't know how he got to that ball," Redmond said.


Marlins strand 15, miss chance to topple Rockies

Miami goes up in ninth, but Cishek blows save, Dyson allows winner

Marlins strand 15, miss chance to topple Rockies play video for Marlins strand 15, miss chance to topple Rockies

DENVER -- Following Friday's offensive flash in the pan, the Marlins had seemingly found a way to win by resuming their scrappy run-producing ways.

But with one towering solo shot to the third deck of right field, Corey Dickerson neutralized the Marlins' two-out, ninth-inning rally. And in the 13th, Dickerson again made Miami pay for a night's worth of missed opportunities by securing a 5-4 victory with his go-ahead single.

One day after erupting for 13 runs, the Marlins went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, stranding 15, to fall back to .500.

"We left a ton of guys on base," manager Mike Redmond said. "In one-run games in this ballpark, that's tough. You can put a big number up quick and in one swing. But we had chances. We had a lot of chances."

Nolan Arenado led off the 13th with a double off right-hander Sam Dyson to set up Dickerson's second round of heroics. And after Dickerson snuck a ground ball up the first-base side, Arenado just beat out Giancarlo Stanton's cannon throw to score the game-winner.

"I knew [third-base coach Stu Cole] was going to send him, being the 13th inning," said Dickerson. "It was the right decision, even though Stanton has a great arm. He made a good throw, and luckily Nolan beat it."

Four innings earlier, LaTroy Hawkins sat down the Marlins' first two batters of the ninth easily enough before Marcell Ozuna and Jarrod Saltalamacchia put runners on the corners with back-to-back singles. Then, in a far cry from Friday's high-flying ways, Adeiny Hechavarria got the job done by deflecting a slow chopper up the middle off Hawkins' glove.

On to close out what would have been the Marlins' Major-League leading 33rd one-run victory, right-hander Steve Cishek served up the no-doubter to Dickerson, erasing Miami's ninth-inning, small-ball rally.

"I've done it a couple of times in BP," Dickerson said after hitting only the 33rd third-deck homer in Coors Field history. "We joke around and they tell me, 'Do it in a game.' I got a good pitch and put a good swing on it. It was pretty awesome that it went that far."

Down 3-1 in the count, Cishek lamented the pitch he threw to Dickerson, whom he called "an all-or-nothing hitter."

"I left a big pitch to hit to a pure fastball hitter, and he got all of it," Cishek said after his fourth blown save of the season. "I'm not one to make excuses. The bottom line is I didn't make my pitches."

The Rockies got to Tom Koehler for all three runs he'd surrender in the third. After allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning, Koehler coaxed Rockies starter Jordan Lyles into a run-scoring double play to seemingly dodge any serious damage.

But in the span of six pitches, Koehler would serve up a double to Charlie Blackmon and a homer to Brandon Barnes for the Rockies' only extra-base hits of the evening before Dickerson's game-tying blast. Outside of that, Koehler hardly broke a sweat, scattering eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

"I got beat today by the definition of a bloop and a blast," Koehler said.

Stanton's double in the top of third brought home Christian Yelich and put the Marlins on the board first.

After Donovan Solano became the third Marlin in the past two days to bring home a run with a bases-loaded walk, Stanton was given a chance to add to his Coors Field legend in the fourth. But with the bases still loaded and two outs, Lyles rung him up with a slider to end the threat -- the first of three times Stanton would strike out to end the inning in a go-ahead opportunity.

A free pass came back to bite the Rockies again in the fifth after Saltalamacchia's double brought home Ozuna to tie the game at 3 following his two-out walk.


Ozuna emerges as clutch hitter for Marlins

Ozuna emerges as clutch hitter for Marlins play video for Ozuna emerges as clutch hitter for Marlins

DENVER -- On Friday, Rockies manager Walt Weiss' opening comments on the Marlins' offense went about as far as saying Giancarlo Stanton belonged in the circus.

Nine innings later, Marcell Ozuna made sure Weiss included him in that high-flying act by finishing 3-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs scored.

Four of those RBIs came on one swing when Ozuna swatted his second grand slam of the season in the ninth. That swing also pushed him to the upper echelon of clutch, as Ozuna entered Saturday with a Major League-leading 12 home runs and 34 RBIs from the seventh inning on.

"He seems to rise to the occasion and get the late hit," manager Mike Redmond said. "I always feel confident when he's at the plate. He's one of those guys that can get the big hit anytime."

Stanton has also excelled in similar situations, with 11 homers and 31 RBIs in the seventh inning or later, good for the second most in the National League behind Ozuna. But when you lump their numbers together, it makes for a mighty fright for opposing pitchers.

Outside of Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones in Baltimore, the Marlins are the only team in the Majors that has two outfielders with 70 or more RBIs in Stanton and Ozuna. Both Marlins sluggers also rank in the Top 5 in the National League in that category.

Furthermore, their combined home run total of 51 entering Saturday was 10 more than the next highest outfield duo in the NL.

And while Stanton may rank first in hype, Redmond knows Ozuna, as well as fellow outfielder Christian Yelich, are just a short ways away from receiving some much-deserved appreciation.

"I think we've always been under the radar in Miami, but I know that when we play these teams, they're aware of our outfield and how well they can hit," Redmond said. "Throughout the course of time, these guys will the get recognition."


Marlins back Alvarez in Colorado, enjoy rare rout

Ozuna hits slam in six-run ninth to cap club's highest output since May

Marlins back Alvarez in Colorado, enjoy rare rout play video for Marlins back Alvarez in Colorado, enjoy rare rout

DENVER -- For a Marlins team that had seen five of its last six games determined by one run, a visit to Coors Field couldn't have come at a better time.

Miami jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, as the offense bailed out right-hander Henderson Alvarez for a change in Friday's 13-5 victory at Coors Field.

"It's nice to come out and swing the bats like we know we're capable of," manager Mike Redmond said. "You've got to have good at-bats, and that's the key to our lineup."

The Marlins scored more than 11 runs for just the third time this season to move back to a game over .500. It was their highest output since a 14-5 win on May 21 against the Phillies.

Miami broke it open in a six-run ninth, bringing nine to the plate, including Marcell Ozuna, who belted his second grand slam of the season. Along with his third home run in as many games, Ozuna finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs scored.

"The ball flies here," Ozuna said. "I just have to put the ball in play and do my job."

The Marlins' job was made easy thanks to a messy night from Colorado's pitching staff. Starting with left-hander Franklin Morales, who surrendered six runs in four-plus innings, a total of six Rockies pitchers combined to hand out nine free passes along with a hit batsman and a wild pitch.

Four of the walks and the hit batsman came around to score. Casey McGehee and Jarrod Salatamacchia also brought runs home by drawing bases-loaded walks in the fifth.

"We did have some great walks in some big situations," Redmond said. "Every once in a while, when the guys are pitching you tough, you've got to be able to take your walks. We were able to do that tonight."

The offensive outburst was enough for Alvarez (10-5) to reach double-digit wins for the first time in his career.

Of course, few could have predicted Alvarez's breakout season would play out the way it has after he lasted just three innings against the Rockies to open the year. And while his first crack at revenge wasn't exactly pretty, Alvarez effectively weathered 10 hits to earn his fourth consecutive win.

The Rockies actually got to Alvarez for more earned runs this time out, and the hits were the most he has allowed in a game since May 16. But all the Rockies' damage off him came on two swings, with Justin Morneau and Corey Dickerson each depositing two-run homers over the right-field fence.

"It's crazy out here," Alvarez said through a translator. "I wasn't consistent in my pitches today. ... I'm not sure if it was the altitude or not, but just starting today's game, I felt a little shortness of breath. I just went out there and tried my best to win the game for our team."

Giancarlo Stanton entered with the highest on-base plus slugging percentage at Coors Field of any active player with at least 45 plate appearances, and the All-Star didn't disappoint. Stanton finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs, three runs scored and two walks (one intentional).

Garrett Jones, the man with an OPS second to Stanton among active Major Leaguers at Coors Field, actually took a seat Friday in favor of Jeff Baker, who rewarded Redmond's confidence by finishing with three hits, including two doubles. Baker was replaced by Jones in the eighth after his sinus infection began to act up due to the altitude.

Baker expects to be fine come Saturday. More than anything, he was just happy to finally take the pressure off a Marlins bullpen that has come through for the team a countless number of times.

"The biggest thing is [this type of game] helps out our bullpen," Baker said. "We put a lot of pressure on our bullpen. ... They're the reason we are where we are. As an offense, we haven't really put a lot of crooked numbers up there recently. ... It's always big to put your foot on the gas a little bit and get some runs."

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