The Florida Marlins are already off to their best start in
Now, heralded young slugger Mike Stanton appears to be heating
Stanton will try to homer for a third straight game Tuesday
night when the Marlins continue their series against the St. Louis
Cardinals, who send Kyle McClellan to the mound looking to become
the NL’s first five-game winner.
Florida improved to a franchise-best 18-9 after a 6-5 win over
St. Louis (16-13) in Monday’s series opener. The Marlins have
scored 15 runs and hit seven homers – two by Stanton – while
winning their last two games.
“We’re getting good pitches and guys aren’t missing them,” said
Gaby Sanchez, who hit a grand slam Monday. “I don’t think this team
by any means has a power problem.”
Stanton finished with three hits, including a game-tying homer
in the fifth and a leadoff triple in the eighth. The effort raised
the right fielder’s average 26 points to .260.
“That ball was absolutely scorched,” third baseman Greg Dobbs
told the Marlins’ official website about Stanton’s triple. “He’s
just so strong. The home run he hit, too. When he gets it, the ball
explodes off his bat. It’s definitely impressive.”
The Marlins will try to keep things going against McClellan
(4-0, 3.23 ERA) after St. Louis teammate Kyle Lohse failed in his
bid to become a five-game winner Monday.
The Cardinals have won all five of McClellan’s starts, although
he failed to make it through the sixth inning for the first time
Thursday, allowing five runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings of an
11-7 win at Houston.
“He didn’t have his good stuff (Thursday), and he knows that,”
St. Louis catcher Gerald Laird said. “He battled. That’s what good
pitchers do, battle and keep their team in the game.”
McClellan is making his first start against the Marlins after
six relief appearances in which he yielded two runs and struck out
seven in seven innings.
He’ll try to help St. Louis bounce back after it dropped to 6-7
at home following Monday’s loss.
Lance Berkman remained a bright spot for the Cardinals, homering
and driving in four runs to raise his season average to .406. He’s
batting .523 with 14 RBIs in his last 12 games, and was named the
NL’s player of the week for the second time this season Monday.
“You try to ride the hot streaks as long as you can ride them
and hope that the down times don’t last too long,” he said.
Berkman is 3 for 8 against Anibal Sanchez (1-1, 3.86), who will
take the mound for the Marlins after making only 74 pitches in his
Sanchez, who took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against
Colorado on April 22, went five innings against the Los Angeles
Dodgers on Wednesday, allowing three runs and four hits before
being removed on an 86-degree afternoon. He left with a one-run
lead but the Dodgers won 5-4 in 10 innings.
Sanchez made his first start since 2008 against St. Louis last
May 19, giving up four hits in seven scoreless innings of a 5-1
victory at Busch Stadium.