JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Without a home run for a month, Mike Stanton ended his slump dramatically.
Stanton homered twice, including a drive high off the hitters’ background screen in center field, to help the Miami Marlins defeat the Washington Nationals 8-5 Tuesday.
Stanton’s homers, his first since Feb. 26, gave him three in the exhibition season. They were his first since returning from the World Baseball Classic.
“I know the last couple of days, he was feeling for it a little bit,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “I know it’s spring training, but being able to hit a couple of homers will make you feel good. I was never able to do that, but I’m sure it would feel good.”
Stanton is expected to start the season batting third in Miami’s young batting order.
“It’s going to be an ongoing process the way they’re going to pitch him,” Redmond said. “He’s just got to be patient and get ready for his pitch, and when he gets it try and do some damage with it. He was able to do that today.”
Chris Valaika and Chris Coghlan also homered for the Marlins.
Bryce Harper singled in each of his first two times up to extend his streak of consecutive at-bats with hits to nine, He walked in the fifth, then left the game.
Harper is hitting .476 (30 for 63) with three homers and 14 RBIs.
Roger Bernadina homered off reliever Mike Dunn for the Nationals, who scored three unearned runs with the help of two errors.
Dan Haren alllowed five runs and seven hits — including four home runs — in six innings.
Henderson Alvarez gave up four runs — one earned — and five hits in five innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. Before the game, the Marlins said he will be the team’s No. 4 starter behind ace Ricky Nolasco, right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and left-hander Wade LeBlanc. Right-hander Kevin Slowey will be the fifth starter.
“The rotation is young but talented,” Alvarez said through a translator. “I think it will be solid and exciting to watch.”
NOTES: The Nationals released RHP Chris Young from his minor league contract. … The Marlins signed OF Matt Diaz to a minor league contract and optioned RHP Jacob Turner and LHP Dan Jennings to Triple-A New Orleans. INFs Nick Green, Matt Downs, Kevin Kouzmanoff, OF Jordan Brown and LHP Zach Phillips were reassigned to minor league camp. Redmond said OF Austin Kearns, 1B Casey Kotchman and RHP Chad Qualls will be on the opening-day roster. … Washington 1B Adam LaRoche struck out in all three at-bats, once looking. … Miami’s Placido Polanco batted second, one day after hitting cleanup. Polanco had a two-run single in the seventh.