Justin Bour put one in the upper deck. Buster Posey launched one into the Clevelander club. But neither of their garden-variety homers Tuesday matched the one belonging to Dee Gordon.
Not for sheer buzz.
Gordon legged out the first inside-the-park home run in Marlins Park history, motoring his way around the bases in 14.3 hellbent seconds, and sparking the Marlins to a 5-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.
“Thing of beauty,” said manager Dan Jennings. “A beautiful thing to see.”
It was the 16th inside-the-park home run ever by a Marlin, and first since Cameron Maybin did it in 2010. It was also Gordon’s first home run of the season, coming with two aboard in the second.
“I got a dinger at Marlins Park,” Gordon joked afterward.
Gordon said it was his first inside-the-park home run since he was in the low minors.
The way the struggling Marlins are going, any bit of spark comes as a welcome relief. Their win over the Giants in the series opener was only their third over their past 12 games.
“It was a great boost, the boost that we needed,” Jennings said.
Gordon’s performance on the bases wasn’t a solo act. He received help.
When he lashed the ball into the gap in right-center, he was certain of a triple.
But like many inside-the-park home runs, an element of fluke was involved. Giants right fielder Gregor Blanco made a backhanded swipe at the ball with his glove, an attempted scoop pass to center fielder Angel Pagan — that didn’t work.
The ball rolled back toward the infield, and Gordon was on his way.
“I looked up and [third base coach Lenny Harris] was sending me, so I tried to hit another gear that I didn’t have at the time,” Gordon said. “It was pretty cool. I was like, what happened? I didn’t know what happened behind me.”
These are choppy times for the Marlins. Given their record and low placement in the standings — and now that it’s July — the trade rumors involving some players are expected to mount.
One of those who could be dealt before the July 31 trade deadline — Mat Latos — was on the mound for them Tuesday. Latos, a free agent after the season, provided a sample of his best work, holding the Giants to three runs — only two of them earned —over six innings and recording the win.
“It’s a business,” Latos said. “I’ve been a part of it quite a bit. I’m not worried about it. Until that day comes when they tell me they’re going to throw me out of the clubhouse, I’m going to fight for this team the best way I can. Nothing else I can do about it.”
After Gordon’s home run gave Latos and the Marlins a 3-1 lead, the pitcher gave up a home run in the third to Posey to make it a 1-run game.
But Bour answered in the bottom of the inning with a home run of his own. It remained 4-2 until the sixth when the Giants cut it back to a run on a wild pitch by Latos.
But Miguel Rojas produced a big insurance run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly, and the Marlins’ bullpen did the rest.
Carter Capps, who has the highest strikeout rate per nine innings in the majors, whiffed Matt Duffy, Posey and Brandon Belt in the eighth before A.J. Ramos closed out the win with a 1-2-3 ninth.
With Jose Fernandez scheduled to return Thursday, the Marlins began the process of reshaping the roster, optioning rookie starter Justin Nicolino to Triple A New Orleans and activating reliever Bryan Morris from the disabled list.
More moves are on the way.
First baseman Michael Morse returned to Miami from a rehab stint with Triple A New Orleans and could be activated "within a few days," according to manager Dan Jennings. Morse tweaked his back on Sunday with the Zephyrs, but the injury is not believed to be serious, and Jennings said Morse could rejoin the club when it opens a weekend series in Chicago on Friday.
When Fernandez is activated Thursday, the Marlins will also have to clear a spot on the roster — and one of the current members of the rotation — David Phelps, more than likely — will move to the bullpen.
Meanwhile, Henderson Alvarez (DL-shoulder) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday. Jennings said Alvarez could begin a rehab assignment right after the All-Star break.