SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Still six games under .500 and 10 ½ games out of first place, the Miami Marlins are slowly starting to gain traction one month after their season nearly spun out of control.
Another double-digit hit game from the offense and a stellar outing by a rookie pitcher are just the latest signs to make manager Don Mattingly encouraged as the All-Star break approaches.
Justin Bour hit his 20th home run, Marcell Ozuna drove in two runs and the Marlins held on to beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Saturday night.
“I think it’s just a really good team,” Bour said. “You see glimpses of how good we really are at times. Lately, we’ve been playing some good ball going into the break and hopefully we can continue on with that.”
Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto added two hits apiece and All-Star Giancarlo Stanton doubled and scored while helping Chris O’Grady to a victory in his major league debut for the Marlins.
San Francisco scored a run in the ninth off closer A.J. Ramos and had runners at the corners with two outs before Hunter Pence struck out looking to end the game.
“A good rally, though. I’ll take that,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Early on, we didn’t do too much offensively. We weren’t hitting any balls very hard.”
Brandon Belt doubled twice and scored two runs, and Brandon Crawford had two RBIs for the Giants. San Francisco has lost two straight since returning from its best road trip of the season.
Three months after being released outright by the Los Angeles Angels’ Double-A team before signing a minor league contract with Miami in May, O’Grady (1-0) celebrated his debut with a workman-like effort. The rookie pitcher allowed three runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks — both in the first inning.
“He was rolling pretty good,” Mattingly said. “You don’t want to get yourself in a huge jam in the first, but to get out of that, he was probably able to come in and breathe a little bit.”
Five relievers completed the seven-hitter. Ramos retired three batters for his 16th save.
Bour homered off Giants starter Jeff Samardzija leading off the fourth, giving the Marlins three players with 20 or more home runs before the All-Star break with Stanton (24) and Ozuna (23). Cincinnati is the only other team in the majors to have three players with 20 or more.
CELEBRATING THE FIRST
Bour got tired of waiting for O’Grady to celebrate his milestone win, so the burly first baseman went out to the field and escorted the rookie pitcher back to the Marlins clubhouse. There, O’Grady received a greeting he’ll not soon forget. After first being loaded into a laundry basket, O’Grady was wheeled into the shower where his teammates dumped anything they could find on him.
“I really didn’t know what was going on,” O’Grady said. “They said jump in there. They put a lot of stuff on me, beer, shaving cream . I even tasted a little ketchup in there.”
BONDS FIRST PITCH
Home run king Barry Bonds threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The 52-year-old former slugger had been honored earlier in the day by the Giants with a plaque on the team’s Wall of Fame. Bonds’ son, Nikolai, caught the first pitch as players from both teams watched and applauded.
Giants: OF Austin Slater was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained right groin. The team initially thought Slater hurt his hip trying to beat out an infield grounder Friday night and is awaiting results from an MRI test. Mac Williamson was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to replace Slater.
Giants RHP Johnny Cueto (6-7) will start the series finale at AT&T Park on Sunday afternoon in place of Matt Cain. Miami will counter RHP Jose Urena (7-3, 3.43). Cain was penciled in to start, but Bochy made the change because he didn’t want Cueto — scratched from his last start due to an ear infection — to wait until after the All-Star break to pitch again.
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