Jarrod Saltalamacchia once saw a teammate light a firecracker next to a bat to try and wake it up.
Mike Redmond, back as a player with the Marlins in 2003, famously took batting practice naked indoors to try to shake his team out of a funk.
The Marlins didn’t turn to pyrotechnics or nudity Tuesday, but whatever it was Dee Gordon was aiming to accomplish when he strew roughly 30 to 40 bats across the clubhouse before the game and then warned his teammates not to touch them did the trick.
The Marlins, batting just .211 as a team during their 1-6 start, found some mojo — beating the Braves for the first time in five tries this season, 8-2, in front of 15,765 on another soggy night at Turner Field.
“This game is crazy,” Redmond said. “Some people may think that’s ridiculous — how does that work? But doing something to make the guys laugh or turn the music up louder, whatever it is, the more relaxed you can be in this game the better.”
Giancarlo Stanton, mired in his own 3-for-23 slump start to the season, was one of those guys who finally looked relaxed.
He raised his average 101 points by going 3for3 with a pair of walks and four RBI to lead the offensive explosion. In his last at-bat, Stanton shed his new protective face mask on his batting helmet and doubled in two runs with a chopper down the third-base line against former Marlins Rule 5 pick Andrew McKirahan.
Stanton said he didn’t wear the mask in his last at-bat because he was facing a left-hander, but isn’t fully committed to shedding the facemask completely yet.
“It’s confidence for him,” Redmond said. “I think that’s probably a big step.’’
Tom Koehler, meanwhile, picked up the first win by a Marlins starting pitcher this season. He went 51/3 innings, walked two, struck out three and gave up his only runs on back-to-back solo home runs by Freddie Freeman and A.J. Pierzynski in the fourth.
Koehler got a big assist from reliever A.J. Ramos in the sixth. After the Braves loaded the bases with one out, Ramos came in and got Kelly Johnson to pop out to short and then Andrelton Simmons to line out to Stanton in right. The Braves (6-2) never really threatened again.
With heavy rain forecast for the area, Koehler said he felt pressured all night to try to get through five innings and make the game official as fast as he could.
“[Tuesday night] I kind of went into the game where I didn’t care how I did as long as they scored less than we did,” Koehler said. “There was a time in the fourth it was raining pretty good, and I wasn’t sure what was going to go on. Those are always tough because you never want to waste a game.
“That’s why I tried to force the contact as early as I could. They were swinging and taking such good at-bats I was just trying to get them in there [the dugout] as fast as possible.”
The Marlins jumped all over new Braves starting pitcher Trevor Cahill, who went 3-12 with a 5.61 ERA in 2014, but got one of his wins against Miami. Tuesday, the Marlins knocked Cahill out after 21/3 innings, pelting him for three runs in the first inning and then plating another on a Marcell Ozuna bases-loaded walk in the third.
Stanton, who has just three RBI coming in, scored Gordon with the first run on a line-drive single to left-center field. Ichiro Suzuki, starting in place of the injured Christian Yelich, then came in to score moments later on Martin Prado’s sacrifice fly. Michael Morse, who came in 6 for 27, then doubled home Stanton with a towering shot off the center-field wall.
Afterward, Gordon wasn’t taking any of the credit or ownership for jump-starting the Marlins’ offense with his bat-on-the-floor ploy.
“Whoever did that — they’re pretty smart,” Gordon said. “It helped. He’s a team player I guess.”
▪ Right-hander Jose Urena, called up Monday to help fill the voids left behind by the injury to Henderson Alvarez and then David Phelps (paternity leave), made his major league debut in the ninth. He gave up a two-out hit to Johnny Gomes and that was it.
The Marlins, playing the second game of a 10-game, 11-day road trip, wrap up their three-game series in Atlanta with a Wednesday afternoon tilt before heading to New York to open a four-game series against the Mets.