Fish Bytes

Marlins extend winning streak to four with win over Phillies to close out the month

A month that started poorly for the Marlins ended well.

Not that many noticed.

Playing in front of a minuscule crowd at Wednesday’s matinee, the Marlins swept the Phillies for the first time in five years and extended their winning streak to a season-high four games.

Justin Bour smacked two homers and pitcher Dan Straily won his third start in a row as the Marlins handed the Phillies a 10-2 loss to sweep the three-game series.

While the Marlins announced the official paid attendance as 15,197 — the smallest figure of the season — the number of actual fans on hand to watch the two teams was significantly less.

One reporter’s hand count put the figure at 1,590.

The Marlins didn’t seem to mind. Playing in conditions that were library quiet at times, the Marlins took down the last-place Phillies in dominant fashion.

Though the month was anything but good for the Marlins, who went 10-18, it was a great one for Bour, who ended May with a pair of home run blasts to raise his season total to 15. That left him one homer behind the National League leader, the Reds’ Scott Schebler.

Bour, who was hitting just .178 with three homers on April 29, hit .347 with 11 home runs in May. The team record for most home runs in a month: 12.

“I’m glad that the month ended on a positive note for the team,” Bour said. “Four straight. We’ve got to keep that going.”

Bour is turning into one of the greatest bargain discoveries in Marlins history. The Marlins plucked him from the Cubs in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft at a cost of $12,500.

“I do admit his at-bats early weren’t very pretty,” manager Don Mattingly said of Bour’s slow start. “But this guy is a pretty good hitter and obviously has big power.”

Bour isn’t the only Marlin with pop.

Marcell Ozuna hit his 14th home run on Wednesday and Giancarlo Stanton, who was held out of the lineup with a mild hamstring cramp, also has 14. All three are on pace to break Gary Sheffield’s single-season home run mark of 42.

Even though the Marlins scored in double digits on Wednesday and outscored the Phillies 21-5 in the series, it wasn’t all about the hitting.

Straily continued to stamp himself as the closest thing the Marlins have to an “ace.” Though it would be a stretch to compare him to a Jose Fernandez, Josh Beckett or Dontrelle Willis, he continues to turn in strong outings.

“I think you’d have to say he’s been our best pitcher,” Mattingly said.

Straily gave up two runs — one of them unearned — in  6 2/3 innings. And, just like Bour, he finished up a solid month on a high note. Straily went 3-1 in May with a 3.11 ERA.

The Marlins wasted no time getting to Phillies starter Aaron Nola, coming up with three runs in the first behind Ozuna’s two-run shot. They broke it open in the fifth when Bour hit the first of his two home runs. The first baseman blasted his second homer in the sixth.

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