Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins hopeful Stanton can break out of hitting slump

Giancarlo Stanton (RF), of the Miami Marlins takes his turn at bat in the seventh inning of the Miami Marlins vs Tampa Bay Rays, game at Marlins Park in Little Havana in Miami on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
Giancarlo Stanton (RF), of the Miami Marlins takes his turn at bat in the seventh inning of the Miami Marlins vs Tampa Bay Rays, game at Marlins Park in Little Havana in Miami on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. pportal@elnuevoherald.com

Giancarlo Stanton is not out of his slump yet, but his performance Friday night might have been a start.

Stanton had two hits in the Marlins’ 5-1 victory over the Rockies —including a key two-run single in the seventh — for just his second multi-hit game since May 13. The two hits brought his batting average back up to .200 for the first time since June 8.

“It does put you in a better framework as a hitter,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “And to be able to get a bigger hit for us — a big hit, actually — to extend a two-run lead to four was huge for us.”

“Just got to keep it going,” added Stanton, who was 5 for 41 (.122 batting average) with 19 strikeouts in June entering Friday.

But even in the midst of Stanton’s slump, the Marlins are still manufacturing offense.

Heading into Saturday, the Marlins were second in the National League and fifth in the majors with a .270 team batting average. Six starters are batting at least .290.

“I’m really happy with the way they performed, especially with minimal production from me,” Stanton said. “I’m happy with the place that we are.”

A resurgence by Stanton could aid Miami in stringing together wins and keeping its early postseason hopes alive. Heading into Saturday, the Marlins were just a half-game behind the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot in the National League and  7 1/2 games behind the Nationals for the NL East lead.

But since May 7, the start of Stanton’s slump, Miami’s longest win streaks have been three games.

“You can’t go win three and lose two, and lose two and win a couple,” Mattingly said. “You end up being right around .500. That’s not going to get it done for us for where we want to go.”

NEAR NO-HITTERS

Adam Conley has stirred up no-hitter buzz more times than any other pitcher in the majors this season.

On Friday night, Conley kept the Rockies hitless through  5 2/3 innings before running into some trouble following a double by Carlos Gonzalez. The bullpen bailed out Conley and the Marlins in what resulted in a combined one-hitter between Conley, Nick Wittgren, Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and Dustin McGowan.

It was the Marlins’ 16th one-hitter in franchise history. It also shut down the Rockies, who entered with the top team batting average in the NL and second-best in the majors at .274.

For Conley, it was the third time he held a no-hitter for at least  5 2/3 innings this season. According to Elias, only Chase Anderson, R.A. Dickey and Marco Estrada have held no-hitters through at least five innings twice this season.

Conley held a no-hitter for  7 2/3 innings on April 29 in Milwaukee before being pulled after throwing 116 pitches. On Friday, his pitch count (109) was also high, and he walked five (two were intentional).

▪ Christian Yelich said Friday he really hasn’t made a conscious effort to hit more home runs this season. Nonetheless, after hitting only three homers at Marlins Park in the first three seasons of his career, he’s already hit four at home this year. Yelich also has six home runs in 62 games after hitting seven all of last season, putting him on pace for roughly 16 home runs. His career high for a season is nine.

COMING UP

▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (5-6, 4.25 ERA) vs. Colorado Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (0-0, 1.42), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

▪ Monday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (2-4, 5.17) vs. Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa (3-4, 7.61), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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