Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rox outhomer Fish in record-setting slugfest

 For one night, the ball was jumping out of Marlins Park like it was Coors Field. In fact, home runs came at a record rate. Mark Reynolds enjoyed his 23rd career multi-homer game, and his second blast, which came off Brian Ellington in the sixth inning, proved the difference in the Rockies' 5-3 win on Monday night.
The Rockies avoided a four-game sweep at Miami in a game that was a reminder that anything can happen at the ballpark. There was a historical angle to the game, as all eight runs came via solo home runs, setting an MLB record. The previous high for a game in which all the runs scored via solo shots was five, done seven times total, with the most recent coming on May 4, 2015, in the Mariners' 3-2 win over the Angels.
"I don't know how to explain a lot of things, especially at this place," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "This place plays so big at times."
For the Rockies, Reynolds homered twice, while Trevor StoryNick Hundley and Charlie Blackmon each went deep. Miami had two homers by Marcell Ozuna and one by Giancarlo Stanton. The eight home runs also are the most ever in the five-year history of Marlins Park.
"That was different, for sure," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, they got the better of us on that. Eight runs on the board. Eight solos."
Marlins right-hander Paul Clemens, called up from Triple-A New Orleans on Sunday, made his first big league start since Sept. 28, 2013, while he was with the Astros against the Yankees. The 28-year-old was tagged for three home runs in the second inning. Story led off with a homer, and with one out, Reynolds and Hundley went back-to-back.
Miami initially grabbed a two-run lead in the first inning off Jorge De La Rosa when Ozuna and Stanton went back-to-back with two outs.
Ball hits him, he hits it back: Story's odd homer -- which came a pitch after he swung at a pitch that hit him -- moved him into a tie for the fourth-most homers for a National League rookie before the All-Star break with 18. Ahead of him are Albert Pujols (2001) and Dave Kingman (1972) with 21, Joc Pederson (2015) with 20, and Story, Mike Piazza (1993) and Frank Robinson (1956) with 18. Story's homer Monday pulled him out of a tie with current Marlins broadcast analyst Preston Wilson (1999) and Travis Lee (1998).
Back-to-back, plus one: The Marlins grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when Ozuna and Stanton went back-to-back off De La Rosa. It was the first time this season the Marlins hit home runs in succession. For Stanton, the home run snapped a drought of 16 straight games and 62 plate appearances without a home run. His last blast was on May 24. Ozuna wasn't done with the long ball. The center fielder also homered in the fourth inning, which gave him his first career multi-homer game. It was Miami's second two-homer game of the season. Justin Bour did it at Milwaukee on April 29.
"I'm feeling good at home plate," Ozuna said. "I'm looking for one pitch to hit, and I'm getting it."
On Sunday, in a 3-0 win, Ozuna belted a three-run homer, so he has gone deep three times in two games. More >
When he really needed it: De La Rosa's previous confrontations with Ozuna and Stanton were loud and unpleasant. But with two down and two on in the fifth, De La Rosa forced Ozuna into an inning-ending grounder. He also worked a grounder from Stanton to start the sixth, and escaped the game with the lead. It was his second straight solid start.
De La Rosa struggled for six early-season starts and lost his spot in the rotation. But in two starts since being reinstated, he beat the Yankees by pitching five scoreless innings and survived Monday's homer festival.
"I feel much better, like I'm mixing my pitches much better," De La Rosa said. "I can help this team to win now."
Serviceable spot start: On short notice, Clemens was informed he was to make a spot start. The right-hander, called up from Triple-A on Sunday, replaced lefty Justin Nicolino, who was optioned to New Orleans. Clemens did a commendable job, giving the Marlins five innings. Although he yielded three solo homers in the second inning, Clemens kept Miami in the game and took some stress off the bullpen. Counting his five starts with the Astros in 2013, Clemens has now made six big league starts. The right-hander walked three and struck out two.
"I could tell early on, my fastball velocity was down, significantly. Still, it doesn't matter, you have to find a way to get your team into the seventh inning," Clemens said. "Save the bullpen a little bit. Work deep into the ballgame."
Early in the game, Clemens scratched the back of his right thumb, and was bleeding. He said that he occasionally scrapes the finger when delivering his curveball. He managed the bleeding and stayed in the game.
"It happens quite a bit," Clemens said. "It's not a big deal."
"I just wanted to come right after him. Long delay, a couple of minutes. He was right on it. I'm sad I didn't go to my changeup more. That was my second-best pitch tonight. I could feel that early on, that was there for me. I should have used it a little bit more." -- Clemens, on the first home run he allowed, to Story, after the replay delay.
"We had three down games, but that's the way it goes. You're going to go through times in the season where you're not swinging the bat well and go through times in the season where you're not pitching well. You try to match those times up as much as you can, get good pitching and good hitting, and when you go through slumps you grind through as best you can." -- Reynolds, on the Rockies following a 5-1 homestand with a 1-3 series in Miami
Monday's contest tied the National League record for most combined solo home runs in a game, which was accomplished twice previously, both involving the Rockies: vs. Montreal on Aug. 14, 1999, and at Cincinnati on May 27, 2012. The Major League record is 10, set by the Tigers and White Sox on May 28, 1995.
It took just a 45-second review for umpires to reverse an out call against Blackmon at first base on his seventh-inning bunt. Blackmon beat the throw to put runners at first and second.
There was a short delay in the second inning to clear up some confusion. Clemens threw a 91-mph 2-2 fastball that Story swung through. The umpire called it a foul ball, though replays showed the pitch never hit the bat. Instead, it deflected off Story's shoulder on the swing. Mattingly approached home plate umpire Ron Kulpa about taking a look at the swing. A crew chief review was called, which gave a clarification: A called foul ball cannot be reviewed. The Marlins weren't charged with a challenge, but the decision was big, as Story connected on the next pitch for a home run.
Rockies: After sweeping a two-game set with the Yankees at Coors Field last week, the Rockies will play two at Yankee Stadium, starting Tuesday with righty Chad Bettis (5-5, 5.63 ERA) facing Yankees righty Ivan Nova (5-4, 4.77) at 5:05 p.m. MT.
Marlins: The Marlins open a short, two-game set with the Braves at 7:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Jose Fernandez, who skipped one start, gets the call for Miami. The right-hander is 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA. Bud Norris (2-7, 4.81) goes for Atlanta.

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