ATLANTA -- Donovan Solano will be returning home to Colombia with a souvenir following the season: the baseball he hit for his first major-league home run.
Solano, who had gone his first 251 big-league at-bats without a homer, belted not one but two Tuesday off Atlanta’s Kris Medlen. The second blast, an opposite-field, two-run shot, put the Marlins ahead in an eventual 4-3 loss.
“I’d been giving Solano a hard time,” Jose Reyes said. “I said, ‘Man, you’re going to go home to Colombia, and you’re going to go home with zero home runs.’ Now he has two.”
The unlikely power source could hardly contain his enthusiasm.
Solano said that even though his older brother, Nationals catcher Jhonatan, beat him to the punch by hitting his first major-league home run in June, his Marlins teammates gave him a longer silent treatment [per his own request] after returning to the dugout.
“My brother, he got a minute and 20 something,” Solano said. “I told Reyes, when I get my first home run, I want two minutes — two minutes in the dugout no one say anything to me. I wanted to beat him.”
Solano also fulfilled his sister’s request that he puff out his cheeks for TV cameras after his first home run. After the home run, Solano boasted to Gorkys Hernandez that he would set his sights on Giancarlo Stanton’s team lead of 34 homers.
“I need 32 more,” Solano said, joking.
No matter what their personal differences might or might not be, manager Ozzie Guillen said he will continue to use reliever Heath Bell with the same goal in mind: to win games.
On the same day that Guillen responded to Bell’s criticism of him by saying that he respected the pitcher as a player but not as a person, Guillen turned to the right-hander in Tuesday’s eighth inning. Bell pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
“I don’t hold a grudge against anybody,” Guillen said. “I do what I’m supposed to do. I get paid to win games, and in that inning, that was his spot and that’s the reason we put him there.”
• Guillen said he is aiming for Friday to write Stanton’s name in the lineup. Stanton, who has been out with a strained left rib muscle, has been taking batting practice. But Guillen said he wanted to give the injury an extra couple of days just to make sure and wants him healthy for the final homestand of the season.
“He feels a lot better,” Guillen said. “But I’d rather have him for six days back in Miami than one day here in Atlanta.”
• Justin Ruggiano is done for the season. An MRI performed on the outfielder revealed a sprained right shoulder. Ruggiano hit .313 with 13 home runs after being acquired on May 26.
Guillen offered high praise for Ruggiano.
“He proved a lot of people wrong,” Guillen said of Ruggiano. “We didn’t have many bright spots [this season], and Ruggiano was one of those bright spots that we had.”
• Thursday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (1-3, 4.03 ERA) at Atlanta Braves RHP Tommy Hanson (12-9, 4.46), 7:10 p.m., Turner Field.
• Friday: Marlins LHP Mark Buehrle (13-13, 3.84) vs. Philadelphia Phillies LHP Cliff Lee (6-8, 3.18), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: Hanson is 7-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 11 career starts against the Marlins.