Marlins' Hechavarria celebrates more than a win vs. Braves
ATLANTA -- As Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria rounded the bases following his two-run homer during Wednesday's 6-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves, teammates in the dugout chanted and clapped.
Hechavarria, celebrating his 26th birthday, gave them reason to cheer along with his bat flip when he connected on an 0-2 slider from lefty Eric Stults in the fifth inning.
In an upbeat postgame clubhouse, Hechavarria explained that Dee Gordon and him made a pact before the season that if either one of them hit a long ball, the other would gesture from the dugout and say the Gold Glove finalist's trademark "ufff."
After all, the pair combined for just three dingers in 2014. It is as rare of a feat as it has been for the Marlins in the early going of the 2015 season.
"It was something that gave me a lot of emotion," Hechavarria said in Spanish. "It was fun. When I stepped on home, I saw them singing happy birthday and clapping for me. Made me emotional."
Michael Morse also knocked a solo shot off righty Cody Martin for the 100th of his career in the following frame.
Through the season's first eight games, the Marlins blasted just one long ball -- on Sunday by Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- worst in the majors. Both Tuesday and Wednesday's performances offered a glimpse of Miami's lineup's potential.
"It's great," Morse said. "I think it just shows you that through the lineup, we can win ballgames a lot of different ways. In the past, it was kind of one-sided on how we can win ballgames. This shows we can win games if the big guy doesn't hit a three-run homer. Hech had a huge game today. We had guys on base all the time. Dee is doing his thing. We're just figuring out different ways to win ballgames."
Hechavarria, who entered the series with one hit in 22 at-bats, finished his birthday with three hits and three RBI. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first major leaguer to do so since Trevor Plouffe (6/15/13). Jeff Conine is the only other Marlin (6/27/04).
Catching prospect J.T. Realmuto, in his first start of 2015, reached base his first three times with a walk, a double and a single. He also scored two runs from the seventh spot in the order.
"Hech is a big part of our lineup," manager Mike Redmond said. "When he can have the kind of day he had today that takes the pressure off the other guys. We can't rely on Giancarlo (Stanton) and Michael Morse and those guys to do the damage every single night. We're going to need some other guys to help contribute. What a great day on his birthday, too. I know the guys were singing happy birthday after his home run."
Added Morse: "That was pretty neat. One thing I've noticed about this team is we have fun. In spring training, we were very relaxed and we had fun. When you win, that starts coming out. We're playing better baseball than we have in the past. Guys are having more fun. Guys are more relaxed. It's showing on the field."