MIAMI — There was a pregame buzz at Marlins Park on Monday thanks to the returns of sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison to Miami’s lineup.
That buzz vanished in a few hours, however, thanks to Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo.
Gallardo pitched eight shutout innings and was supported by the Brewers’ 16-hit attack in a 6-1 victory against Marlins.
An offensive outburst by the Marlins would have played along with the story of the day. Morrison, who returned from offseason knee surgery in New York on Sunday, was playing his first home game since last season. Stanton, on the disabled list since April 30, was activated before the game.
Evidence of an energized Marlins’ lineup would have to wait.
Stanton hit third and had a single in four at-bats. He also saw a lot of action in right, where he had four putouts and saw three extra-base hits his way.
“I got everything today,” he said.
First baseman Morrison batted fifth and went 0 for 2 with a walk.
“You have to remember those guys were out for a while. We’re not going to score 10 runs every game,” said starter Ricky Nolasco, who gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings. “We have to go out there, and they can give us whatever they can.”
Stanton and Morrison joined an offense that began the day batting .230 with a National League low 31 homers.
“We’ve obviously been waiting for this day for a while,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said before the game. “I’ve been happy with the way we’ve grinded it out. We’ve put together some good games over the past 10 days. Hopefully, we can carry that with a boost from Stanton and LoMo.
“I’ll be honest with you, getting LoMo back, you could sense and feel guys were excited. And knowing Stanton was coming back today definitely energized this team.”
Against Gallardo, Stanton and Morrison were separated by hot-hitting rookie Marcell Ozuna in the lineup.
“It’s great to see them coming back,” said Ozuna, batting cleanup. “I have more protection in the lineup – one behind me and one in front of me.”
When all three are swinging their best, Stanton-Ozuna-Morrison forms a dangerous middle of the order.
“It strengthens our lineup and it stretches the lineup, too,” Redmond said. “We can drop (Derek) Dietrich down farther in the order. It gives a little length to the order and it makes the middle of the order more of a threat.”
It also will help if the offensive trio stay healthy and offer Redmond a consistent part of the lineup.
“Consistency always is a catalyst for success,” Morrison said.
Unlike Morrison and Stanton, who had jobs waiting for them upon their returns, second baseman Donovan Solano (intercostal strain) lost his spot to rookie Dietrich.
Solano and first baseman Joe Mahoney (hamstring) were activated from the disabled list Monday and sent to Triple-A New Orleans (Pacific Coast League).
“Unfortunately in this game, when you get hurt sometimes,” Redmond said, “it’s not a guarantee you’re going to be back out there when you’re healthy.”
It’s likely nobody has to tell that to outfielder Chris Coghlan and first baseman Casey Kotchman. Coghlan was hitting .277 before going on the DL Sunday with a right calf injury. Kotchman (oblique) was put on the 15-day DL Monday.
Better news involved pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez – both sidelined with shoulder injuries. Eovaldi had been scheduled to make a final rehab start at Double-A Jacksonville (Southern League) but the game was rained out. Redmond said Alvarez would begin his rehab assignment at Class A Jupiter (Florida State League) on Thursday.
There’s also outfielder Christian Yelich, who’s at Double-A Jacksonville. He had been expected to join the big club at midseason following a tremendous spring. An abdominal injury, however, has put Yelich on the DL and likely has pushed back his appearance in Miami
Stanton, for one, no longer wants to hear about who’s coming up or who’s being activated from the DL. His focus was on one thing.
“Build with what we’ve got and keep the guys here in the lineup that we got – we can start there,” Stanton said. “I’m sick of the, ‘what is this going to be, what is that going to be.’ Just have us all together and work from there.
“There’s no, ‘We’re going to do this in a week, and this when this guy comes up.’ We have to do with what we have here.”