The Miami Marlins (3-1) got off to a promising start in 2014 by taking their four-game series over the Colorado Rockies.
After a blowout victory to open the season, the Marlins won two of the next three — one by a run and the other in comeback fashion.
Last season, Miami went 24-35 in one-run games and 7-78 when trailing after seven innings. That ballclub needed a full month to capture its first series and 14 games to score 27 runs.
"The offense had scrappy at-bats late," manager Mike Redmond said. "(It) had some opportunities early with runners in scoring position there and all we needed was some contact and didn’t get it, but at the end of the day we had some big at-bats when we needed them and guys came through.
"All in all a team effort that has us fired up. We got some big hits from multiple guys, nice way to win the series."
Coming into town are the San Diego Padres.
San Diego (1-2) brought the theatrics on Opening Night to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, but scored just three runs over the final two games to drop the series.
The Padres are 45-40 all-time in South Florida (82-76 overall vs. Miami). They won the first four matchups last season before the Marlins battled back for the final three.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Padres-Marlins weekend series:
OF/PH Seth Smith (Padres): Of his three hits over seven at-bats, two have been for home runs — both solo shots. He has walked once and has not struck out. His first homer, a pinch-hit go-ahead blast, came off Brian Wilson in the eighth inning on Opening Night.
3B Casey McGehee (Marlins): After a year playing baseball in Japan, McGehee has gotten off to a quick start in Miami. He is 6 for 15 (.467) with one run, three doubles, a triple and eight RBI through four games.
2B Jedd Gyorko (Padres): Hitless in 10 at-bats, Gyorko has also struck out six times. He has reached base twice via a walk, scoring once.
1B Garrett Jones (Marlins): With a proven history of trouble against lefties, Jones has faced three southpaws so far this week. He is 3 for 15 (.188) with two RBI, two walks and five strikeouts.
1: In nine appearances against the Padres, closer Steve Cishek has allowed just one unearned run in 13 1/3 innings, while going 2-0 with two saves in two chances.
4: Including Friday’s projected starter, four of Miami’s first five games of 2014 will be against southpaw pitchers. The Marlins hit just .227 against lefty starters in 2013.
.357: Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal is 5 for 14 (.357) with a double, a triple, five runs, five RBI and six walks in six games against the Marlins.
2: Number of former University of Miami players on San Diego’s 25-man roster — first baseman Yonder Alonso and Grandal. Saturday is UM Family Night at Marlins Park.
"He’s got a chance — in my opinion — to be the best player in the game. It’s been fun to see him go out there. I know he’s worked hard. He had a great spring. I told him during spring training this was going to be a monster year for him. I hope that is truly the case because we’re going to benefit from that." — Manager Mike Redmond about slugger Giancarlo Stanton
"I think that’s the kind of style we want to play is aggressive, put pressure on them and the old football mentality of play ’til the whistle." — Third baseman Casey McGehee in regards to his plays (breaking up a double play, scoring from second on an infield hit) that don’t appear in the box score.
"The team aspect is what we’ve been preaching, and I think you saw that today. This is 25 guys playing together, and that’s really what you want to see." — Right-hander Jacob Turner following Thursday’s 8-5 comeback victory.