Giancarlo Stanton launched one R.A. Dickey knuckleball 477 feet off the batter’s eye in center in the fourth inning. He hit another 424 feet into the left-field bleachers in the sixth.
But the Marlins didn’t make the most of his wallops, dropping a 5-3 decision to the Braves on Friday night.
The Marlins and left-hander Adam Conley were done in by sloppy fielding and a Nick Markakis home run that sealed yet another loss to a division rival that has given them nothing but fits. The Marlins have gone 10-17 against the rebuilding Braves the past two seasons.
“We didn’t make any plays for him,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Conley.
And Atlanta’s new SunTrust Park is proving to be just as unkind to the Marlins as Turner Field was for 20 years. The Marlins have lost three of their first four games in the Braves’ new digs.
Stanton found it to his liking Friday though. He annihilated Dickey’s first pitch in the fourth. It was his longest home run of the season and the longest hit so far at SunTrust. He added a two-run shot on another Dickey knuckleball in the sixth to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead.
“I just got two balls to hit,” Stanton said.
It was Stanton’s 26th career multi-homer game and eighth this season. But the Marlins don’t always win when their slugger is giving them the long ball, going 17-9 in those games in which he’s homered twice.
Stanton has had good success against Dickey, going 9 for 26 against him. But Friday marked the first time he managed to homer off him.
“It’s not a comfortable at-bat,” Stanton said of facing Dickey. “But it’s not a crazy, uncomfortable at-bat. I’ve seen him where he’s untouchable and [also] where he can’t control it at his best. Today he was pretty good.”
Outside of Stanton, the rest of the Marlins didn’t do much with Dickey. He gave up just one other hit in his six innings, a Conley single in the sixth. Still, after Stanton’s 35th home run in the sixth the Marlins had a 3-1 lead.
But it didn’t last long.
In the bottom of the inning, Brandon Phillips shot a ball under second baseman Dee Gordon’s glove that was ruled a single. Later in the inning, Markakis smacked a three-run homer off Conley, who gave up an unearned run in the first as the result of fielding errors by Gordon and shortstop Miguel Rojas.
“We were kicking it around,” Gordon said. “That’s not like us.”
Conley has pitched well in his four starts since being called up from the minors. On Friday, he was done in by bad defense and a good pitch that Markakis put in the seats.
“The ball was in,” Conley said. “I don’t have a problem with the pitch. I’m actually happy with the way I threw. As far as efficiency and executing pitches early, I actually felt like that was the best I’ve been since being back.”
With a pinch-hit single in the eighth, Ichiro Suzuki moved past Craig Biggio on the all-time list with his 3,061st major-league hit. Ichiro now ranks 22nd all-time.