Miami Marlins

Marcell Ozuna’s absurdly long home run sparks much-needed offensive surge for Marlins

Don Mattingly on 10-6 win over the Rays on Wednesday

Marlins manager Don Mattingly talks about 10-6 win over the Rays on Wednesday at Tropicana Field.
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Marlins manager Don Mattingly talks about 10-6 win over the Rays on Wednesday at Tropicana Field.

Marcell Ozuna’s wife, Genesis, showed off a pretty good home run swing Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

She cleared the home run barrier set up in the short outfield during the traditional softball game played in recent years between the Marlins’ and Rays’ players’ wives and girlfriends.

A few hours later, her husband hit one of the longest home runs in the history of the ballpark.

Ozuna’s towering blast traveled 468 feet before it was halted by the Rays’ American League Wild Card banner hanging high above the upper deck in left field.

More importantly for the Marlins, it halted — at least for one game — their hitting woes leading to a 10-6 victory over the Rays.

"That was a good approach and everybody early in the game was a little back and forth and then we made good approaches and swung at pitches we liked to hit," Ozuna said.

Ozuna’s eighth home run of the season was a highlight among a season-high 17-hit output by the Marlins (12-14), who posted three multi-run innings after posting only two over their previous seven games.

Those two came this past Sunday in a 10-3 win over the Pirates — the Marlins’ only victory in their previous seven games.

“It was just nice to see,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “These guys have had our number. They have a lot of similar type pitchers. It was good for us to be able to jump on that reliever today.”

Ozuna, who has hit safely in 20 career games against the Rays, hit the Marlins’ only home run of the game. His homer was the eighth-longest ever hit at Tropicana Field, which opened in 1998 and was estimated at only 10 feet shorter than the longest hit by Vinny Castilla in 2001.

ozuna
The banner that a home run by Miami Marlins' Marcell Ozuna hit with a home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wed., May 3, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Chris O'Meara AP

It was also the second-longest home run hit at the park in the Statcast era behind Alex Rodriguez’s 471-foot homer on April 17, 2015.

“That thing was long,” Mattingly said. “I couldn’t find it. I thought it hit the ring, because I didn’t see it on the other side. And then somebody told me it hit the thing, hit the flag.”

The Marlins did most of their damage by stringing several hits together including seven in a row during a sixth inning in which they scored five runs and took the lead for good.

Miguel Rojas, who started at second base for Dee Gordon, recorded a career-high four hits as he and Adeiny Hechavarria gave the Marlins a big lift from the bottom of the order. Gordon, who was hit by a pitch on the right calf on Tuesday night, was given a rest day by Mattingly.

"We know we are capable of scoring a lot of runs if we have a good approach," Rojas said. "The last couple of days have been tough for us, but this was a good team win and gets our confidence back."

Hechavarria posted his second three-hit game in the past week, and is hitting .387 since coming off the disabled list with an oblique strain. Hechavarria nearly posted his first four-hit game in over a year when he reached base on a sacrifice bunt originally ruled a hit. The play was later scored as a fielder’s choice.

Coming off his worst career start when he gave up nine runs in 1 2/3 innings, Adam Conley picked up the victory after tossing 5 1/3 innings. Conley gave up five runs, but three were unearned following an error in left field charged to Ozuna. Conley gave up five hits, struck out five and walked three.

Conley settled down after the first two innings, retiring 11 of 12 batters before back-to-back walks prompted his exit from the game in the sixth.

“I think after the first couple [innings] he kind of settled in,” Mattingly said. “He was changing speeds, hitting spots a little bit better. He just kind of ran out of steam, it felt like, with the two walks there in the sixth.”

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