Stanton leads Marlins past Braves 6-2
By STEVEN WINEAP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) - Saddled with a five-game losing streak, the Miami Marlins were in the market for an early lead Wednesday, and Giancarlo Stanton gave them one.
The Marlins slugger hit a two-run double in the first inning to end a 10-game RBI drought and help beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2.
Stanton had been in a 3-for-26 slump before he gave the Marlins the lead in their four-run first against Paul Maholm.
"It put us on top, and we stayed on top the whole game," Stanton said. "It was a good jump start."
Stanton was also pleased that he walked in his next three at-bats, laying off tempting pitches that he had been flailing at of late.
"They threw some good pitches at me, and I took," he said. "So it was a good day."
Placido Polanco added three hits and three RBIs. Jacob Turner (3-1) allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings, and Steve Cishek allowed two singles in the ninth to complete a six-hitter.
The Braves won two of three games in the series but missed a chance for their first road sweep since April 12-14 at Washington.
"It was a tough day," said Maholm (9-8). "Obviously we would have liked to have gotten the sweep, but we won the series."
Miami improved to 3-12 against the Braves at Marlins Park since it opened in 2012.
With thousands of youngsters in the stands on camp day, the announced attendance was 23,921 - the Marlins' largest home crowd since April 27. Miami is last in the major leagues in attendance.
Atlanta came into the game with a 1.87 ERA this season against the Marlins, but Miami batted around in the first inning.
"We needed that," manager Mike Redmond said. "We needed to jump out to a quick start and settle everyone down, especially Jacob, and gives ourselves a little room to breathe."
Stanton showed the impact his bat can make with a line drive that reached the wall on one hop for a 2-0 lead.
"That ball was a laser beam, and he had great at-bats after that. That's a great sign," Redmond said. "He's such a big presence in that lineup. You can see how in situations they start pitching around him, but when he stays in the zone and handles the pitches he knows he's capable of handling, he can dominate a game."
Last year's NL slugging leader has had a subpar first half of the season, in part because he missed 36 games with a strained right hamstring. He's batting only .246 with eight homers and 24 RBIs, and the Marlins have the NL's worst record.
Stanton has tried to temper his frustration.
"I'm kind of taking a little different approach," he said. "Before, I would just get furious, but then I feel like I'm a bad teammate, and I don't want to have that influence. You can get mad every once in a while, with how much of a failure sport this is, but it's how you handle it. Get mad for a few minutes, and then leave it."
Stanton's double came on a changeup. He scored on a double by Polanco, and Jeff Mathis added a two-out RBI single.
"Obviously in the first inning I wasn't in rhythm," Maholm said. "But Stanton is the only one that hit the ball hard, and it wasn't even supposed to be a strike."
Maholm gave up no runs after the first but lasted only 4 1-3 innings, throwing 103 pitches. Three times this year he has failed to pitch five innings.
Poor base-running hurt Atlanta in the second inning. Dan Uggla doubled home a run, then was thrown out trying to go from second to third when a pitch rolled away from catcher Mathis. B.J. Upton reached first on the play because the pitch was strike three, but he was promptly picked off by Turner.
Freddie Freeman, contending for the final spot on the NL All-Star team, doubled in the sixth and scored on Chris Johnson's groundout to make the score 4-2. But that's all the Braves could muster against Turner, who improved to 4-0 in his past six home starts with an ERA of 1.41.
Notes: Before the game, Braves C Evan Gattis (strained right oblique) took batting practice for the first time since going on the disabled list June 18. ... Umpire Dan Iassogna began wearing a cast this week on his right forearm after an X-ray revealed a broken wrist. He was hurt working behind the plate at a game June 29, but the severity of the injury wasn't determined until after Monday's Marlins-Braves game, when he was again the plate umpire and he was throwing balls underhand to the pitcher because of the pain. ... The Marlins' Adeiny Hechavarria singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, matching his career high. ... With his first career triple, Turner raised his lifetime batting average from .034 to .067. ... Johnson had two hits and is batting .432 (16 for 37) against the Marlins this year.