LOS ANGELES – The theme song from "Welcome Back, Kotter" was playing on the loud speakers at Dodger Stadium before the first pitch.
It was the Dodgers’ way of saluting Don Mattingly in his first game back in Los Angeles.
And then his new team went out and beat them.
Derek Dietrich’s triple in the sixth inning put them ahead for good and the bullpen backed up a solid start by Wei-Yin Chen as the Marlins secured a 3-2 win Monday night.
“It was an incredible pitching performance by Chen,” Dietrich said. “We had some good at-bats when we needed them and played great defense. All over the diamond, it was a clean game for us.”
Chen picked up his first win as a Marlin, pitching into the seventh inning for the third consecutive start and continued to look solid since his shaky Opening-Day outing.
Chen went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and a walk and struck out four.
“I think everybody played really well tonight, including G's [Stanton]’s home run,” Chen said. “The hitting, the bullpen. Everybody played well. The reason I pitched well tonight is I got the support from my teammates, so I could just focus on my pitching and I could focus on how to go after the hitters. Everybody played well tonight.”
His only real issues came in the fourth inning when he surrendered solo home runs to Yasiel Puig and Trayce Thompson.
Puig got a hold of a slider on the first pitch of the inning and sent it 394 feet into the right field stands to tie the game at 1.
Chen struck out Justin Turner and retired Grandal on a ground ball before Thompson crushed a fastball for a 405-foot solo home run to left-center field.
Chen allowed 23 or more home runs in a season three times in his four years with the Orioles, and has allowed four home runs this season.
But the Marlins (7-11) rallied when Giancarlo Stanton followed up his second home run in as many days with a game-tying double the next inning that tied the game at 2.
On the previous pitch, Stanton was given a second chance by former University of Miami and Miami Springs High standout Yasmani Grandal after Stanton popped up first-base side.
Grandal, typically the Dodgers’ catcher, made his first start of the season at first base and lost track of the ball letting it drop just in front of the Marlins’ dugout. Grandal has played at first in 44 of his 308 games in the majors.
After one pickoff throw by pitcher Ross Stripling, Stanton drove the next pitch into the right-center field gap to score Yelich, who reached base for the 18th consecutive game to open the season with a single.
Stanton’s home run was his 11th career against the Dodgers and seventh in L.A. Stanton has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games at Dodger Stadium where he has a career .322 average.
It came in the fourth when he belted a curveball from first-year Dodgers starter Stripling to left field. His fifth home run of the season gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead.
After going 0 for 8 with four strikeouts in his first two games of this road trip, Stanton is 5-for-7 with two home runs, three RBI, two walks and only one strikeout.
“I think that would get anyone amped up, the team you watched growing up,” Stanton said. “Always a good time to come here. I’ve been here a few more times than every other ballpark. Maybe this one and our home stadium is about the same. It’s always fun.”
Dietrich hit a fly ball to right that Puig couldn’t come up with and rolled all the way to the wall. Puig didn’t appear to be close enough to make the play, but dove for it anyway, allowing J.T. Realmuto to score and Dietrich to reach third.
Starting for the fourth consecutive game at third base for Martin Prado, who’s on the paternity list, Dietrich had one of his best games defensively, making four timely and smooth plays at third base.
One of his best came in the sixth inning when he smothered a liner by Grandal and started a 5-4-3 double play to keep the Dodgers from putting together a significant scoring threat.
On the ensuing at-bat, Thompson successfully made a diving catch to rob Adeiny Hechavarria of a hit. Dietrich did not take off for home on the play and was eventually stranded at third after an unsuccessful bunt attempt by Chen and a ground out by Dee Gordon.
Kyle Barraclough replaced Chen in the seventh after a hit and an error put runners on first and second with two outs.
Barraclough came up with a huge strikeout of veteran Chase Utley to get the Marlins out of the jam.
After running the count full, Barraclough fired a 97 mph fastball that Utley thought was inside. But as he took off for first, home plate umpire Pat Hoberg rung him up as the pitch caught the inside corner.
“We've been in a lot of close games where things haven't gone our way, or we haven't been able to hold the lead,” Mattingly said. “We'd come back and just not be able to get over the hump. The last couple of days we've been able to hold the lead. Our bullpen has done a nice job at the end of the game.”
David Phelps continued to thrive in his set-up role, allowing one hit in a scoreless eighth.
A.J. Ramos ran into a little trouble in the ninth walking pinch-hitter Joc Pederson with one out, but recovered by striking out Adrian Gonzalez and Corey Seager to pick up his second save in as many games and fourth of the season.
“This team is close,” Ramos said. “It's only a matter of time before we start rolling. I really do feel that. I think if we continue to do things we're good at, limit the mistakes, and limit the big innings that we had when we lost, I think we'll be alright. I think it's going to be good. I think we're going to get on a roll and surprise some people.”