The debut was a dandy.
On his first day in the majors, Christian Yelich did something only two other Marlins have accomplished previously: tally three hits in his first big-league game.
Yelich also drove in two runs in support of another youngster, Jose Fernandez, as the Marlins defeated the Colorado Rockies, 4-2, for their second straight win.
The Marlins’ lineup card contained five rookies, including another newcomer, Jake Marisnick. But it was Yelich who came up large, delivering singles in each of his first three at bats.
It was an accomplishment that made manager Mike Redmond nod in approval. After all, Redmond was one of the other two former Marlins, along with Giancarlo Stanton, to have three hits in his first career game.
Redmond did it in 1998. Stanton matched his feat in 2010.
"I actually got a little bit nervous there because I was 3 for 3 with a home run in my major league debut," Redmond said, joking. "And when he got that third hit, I was like , 'Man, there's no way this guy can top me.' I thought about maybe taking him out of the game. No, it was a great day."
After enduring a drought of 37 scoreless innings that ended with Monday’s 3-1 victory, Tuesday’s win provided another day of relief for the Marlins.
Fernandez took the mound for the Marlins the first time since pitching in last week’s All-Star Game, and he turned in another top effort, holding the Rockies to two runs over seven innings while striking out seven.
"I felt like I hadn't pitched in a month," Fernandez said.
Stanton belted his 11th home run in what has fast become his favorite ballpark in which to hit. The home run blow in the eighth, which gave the Marlins a 4-2 lead, was his seventh in nine career games at Coors Field.
But it was the 21-year-old Yelich who soaked up the spotlight.
"You can think about it and dream about it all you want," Yelich said. "But going out there and actually living it, to be a part of something like this, is pretty special and something I don't think I'll ever forget."
The Marlins’ top hitting prospect lived up to his reputation right off the bat. Facing Jhoulys Chacin, he singled through the hole at second in his first at bat -- and he didn’t stop there.
With the Marlins trailing 1-0 after Todd Helton’s solo home run off Fernandez in the second, Yelich delivered a two-out RBI single off Chacin to tie it in the third.
Adeiny Hechavarria remained hot at the plate, following an infield hit in the third with a RBI double in he fifth to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Entering play on Tuesday, Hechavarria owned the highest batting average (.418) in the National League since July 1.
Yelich immediately made it 3-1 with an infield single off the glove of drawn-in second baseman D.J. LeMahieu. Proving that he’s human, Yelich flied to center in the eighth off Rockies reliever, left-lander Josh Outman. Yelich, who started in left field, made a defensive blunder when he threw to the wrong base on a Troy Tulowitzki base hit in the fourth inning.
But Fernandez took care of Yelich’s fielding mistake by whiffing Michael Cuddyer and Helton to end the inning.
Carlos Gonzalez trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the sixth off Fernandez with a ground out RBI after LeMahieu tripled to open the inning. But Stanton got the lead back to two runs with his home run to left off Outlaw.
Marisnick’s debut wasn’t nearly as glowing as Yelich’s. Starting alongside Yelich in center, Marisnick went 0 for 4 at the plate and handled only one ball in the field, a routine fly.
Once again, the Marlins received strong relief support.
Mike Dunn took over for Fernandez in the eighth and retired the side. Steve Cishek worked the ninth for his 19th save.