Who needs Dee Gordon?
With the leading hitter in the majors on the bench for a second straight game with a hamstring injury, the second baseman’s backups came through for the Marlins in a 6-2 win over the Giants on Saturday.
Jeff Baker, subbing for Gordon at second base, drove in a run and scored another. And then Donovan Solano, who entered after Baker left with an oblique injury, drove in two runs and scored, as well.
Add it all up, and the two reserves were directly involved in five of the Marlins’ six runs on a bone-chilling night when they got past Giants ace Madison Bumgarner to take a 2-1 lead in the four-game series.
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“It takes 25 men to win, and even more than that if you want to play in October,” Baker said. “Guys are going to get injured, guys are going to get banged up, guys are going to get days off.”
For whatever reason, the Marlins tend to do well at AT&T, where they have gone 15-6 since 2010.
Gordon and his .437 average is expected to return to the lineup Sunday when the Marlins close out the series before heading down to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers.
But the Marlins didn’t need him Saturday.
Two batters after Marcell Ozuna homered off Bumgarner to open the fourth, Baker doubled to drive in J.T. Realmuto and then scored on Adeiny Hechavarria’s RBI double.
Baker, who was starting for only the second time this season, came out after that with what the Marlins reported to be a right oblique injury. He is listed as day to day, but said afterward that he is “fine.”
Though Bumgarner struck out 10, he was finished after going five innings and throwing 99 pitches. The Marlins struck out a season-high 15 times, with four of those belonging to Giancarlo Stanton, yet still prevailed.
Stanton has gone 4 for 25 on the trip with 11 strikeouts.
Marlins starter David Phelps gained the win to go to 2-0, holding the Giants to a run over six innings. With Phelps showing solid form since taking Henderson Alvarez’s spot in the rotation, he could remain there when Alvarez comes off of the disabled list after the Marlins return to South Florida.
In his five starts, Phelps has given up six runs in 30 innings for an ERA of 1.80.
“It’s what good teams have to do,” Phelps said of the backups performing when the regulars go down. “I’ve been around the game long enough to know that if you have guys step up when guys go down, that’s how you win. That’s how you play deep into the season. When (Alvarez) went down, I’m not going out trying to be an ace. I’m not trying to take over what he’s doing. I’m trying to give us a chance every time I go out.”
Said manager Mike Redmond of the job Phelps has done: “When (Alvarez) went down, he’s come in and just been tremendous. He’s got deep into games and today you saw that.”
Phelps left with a 3-1 lead on Saturday.
But Solano and Hechavarria added insurance runs in the eighth off Giants reliever Jean Machi, with Solano drilling a double past the bag at first to score two runs and Hechavarria beating out an infield single to drive in another.
“We are trying to help the team anyway possible,” Solano said of the Marlins’ bench players. “That’s why we’re here. We need to be ready at any time to help the team any way possible.”
With two more hits Saturday, Hechavarria raised his road average to .419, the third-best road average in the majors for players with a minimum of 50 plate appearances.