Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond said he saw signs of improvement from his struggling offense in a series-opening loss to the Washington Nationals.
That's exactly what he got - and plenty of it.
After watching his team's slumbering bats finally awaken, Redmond would like to see the Marlins post consecutive wins for the first time Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals, who hope to have Bryce Harper back in the lineup.
Runs figured to be at a premium this season for the rebuilding Marlins, but 23 in the first 13 games would've been impossible to predict. Still, that's how many Miami (3-11) had totaled after Monday's 10-3 loss to Washington (8-6), the team's eighth in nine games.
Redmond remained optimistic after the Marlins were held to six hits in that defeat.
"I felt we had much better swings than we've had in the last few days," he said. "Hopefully that's something we can grow on."
Grow on it they did, setting a season high in runs and ending a long homerless drought in an 8-2 victory Tuesday. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a three-run homer and Justin Ruggiano added three RBIs as Miami exceeded its run total from the previous five games.
Redmond said Hechavarria's homer provided the kick-start the Marlins needed.
"We've been waiting for a big hit for a while. We knew it was going to come. We didn't know who it was going to come from.
"It was big for everybody. I think for everybody, it was like, 'All right, here we go' - a nice sigh and a little bit of relief."
All the offense came without slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who missed his fifth consecutive game with a bruised left shoulder. Stanton said he felt better after taking batting practice early Tuesday, and will see how he feels Wednesday before a decision is made on his status.
"We want to make sure that he's right, and that it doesn't still hurt him," Redmond told the team's official website. "We don't want to push him. We want to make sure everything feels right with him before we do that."
The Marlins hadn't homered in a franchise record-tying nine straight games before Hechavarria connected for the team's major league-low third of the season.
Washington outfielders Harper and Denard Span sat out with flu-like symptoms, but both could return for this game. The Nationals were also without second baseman Danny Espinosa, who has a bruised right hand.
Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.12 ERA) probably wouldn't mind if Harper sat out again since the Nationals' star hit two homers off him in Washington's 2-0 opening-day win April 1.
The right-hander, though, pitched very well otherwise in that game and had thrown consecutive shutouts - wins by a combined 17-0 score - in his two previous outings against the Nationals. He is 10-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 19 starts in the series.
Nolasco allowed one run and seven hits over six innings Friday against Philadelphia, but Miami managed only four hits in a 3-1, 10-inning loss.
Ross Detwiler (0-0, 0.69) will try to provide Washington with another strong performance. He has no decisions despite allowing one earned run and 10 hits in 13 innings with three walks and six strikeouts.
The left-hander was in line for the win Friday after holding Atlanta to one run and four hits over seven innings, but his bullpen couldn't hold the lead for the second time.
Detwiler is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts against the Marlins, all coming last season.
The Associated Press News Service
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