Don Mattingly talks about the Marlins' 11-6 win over the A's
Given the 12:10 p.m. start time, which is to nocturnal ballplayers what the crack of dawn is to the 9-to-5 working population, it took a while for the Marlins to stop the yawning, wipe the sleep from their eyes and wake up.
They were down 4-0 to Oakland before the Miami lunch crowd was back at their desks.
Then the caffeine and energy drinks kicked in.
The Marlins sprung to life with an 11-6 victory on Wednesday, giving them a sweep of their two-game series against the Athletics.
“There were times last month when I was, like, I hope [the opponent] doesn’t score first because it felt like if the other team scored first, we were in trouble,” manager Don Mattingly said of the Marlins’ rebound from a dismal May.
“But now you don’t have that same feeling.”
After a brutal 4-19 stretch that shoved them deep in the National League East standings, the Marlins have shown some newfound life, going 15-8 since and at least providing some faint optimism that the season hasn’t already been lost.
It helped Wednesday that the A’s sent out a rookie — Daniel Gossett — who was making his major-league debut. The Marlins didn’t leave a memorable taste in his mouth.
Marcell Ozuna deposited his 17th blast into the Home Run Sculpture, Tyler Moore added a home run of his own, and the sleep-deprived Marlins handed it to the A’s less than 12 hours after dusting them the night before.
“I knew they had a younger guy out there today and if we stayed with him we had a chance to put runs up,” Mattingly said.
“I think Ozuna’s homer was huge right away because it kind of gets you started. It didn’t seem huge at the time. But it lets everyone know you’re [still] in the game.”
The Athletics raced out to a quick 4-0 lead on Edinson Volquez, who was making his first appearance at Marlins Park since his no-hitter on June 3.
Volquez wasn’t anywhere near sharp, though, walking four batters and giving up a three-run homer to Ryan Healy within the first two innings.
“I didn’t feel really good,” Volquez said of his pitching form. “I didn’t have everything working.”
It didn’t help matters that a two-out error by third baseman Derek Dietrich in the first forced Volquez to throw an additional 15 pitches before he was able to get out of the inning.
Even so, Mattingly said Volquez looked “rough.”
Volquez joked afterward that the ankle injury he sustained during his no-hitter was no longer sore and it altered his delivery, causing him to “jump” toward the plate from the stretch.
“Somebody’s got to hit me [in the ankle] with a bat or something, kick me,” Volquez said with a laugh.
But after Ozuna and Moore cut the A’s lead in half with solo home runs in the second, the Marlins continued their assault on Gossett, forcing him out in the fourth.
The top four hitters in the lineup — Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Ozuna — each had two hits and combined to drive in eight of the Marlins’ 11 runs.
Even Ichiro Suzuki joined in the act, stepping in as a pinch-hitter and tapping a 15-footer in front of the plate and beating it out for an infield single.
That little hit pushed Ichiro past Derek Jeter to give him a major-league record 365 interleague hits.
The win left the Marlins at 29-35.
“Hopefully, we can kind of keep riding this and keep going,” Mattingly said of the Marlins’ recent run of success.