MIAMI (AP) Last week, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez suggested that Mike Stanton wear his gray pants for home games to turn around the rookie slugger’s misfortunes at Sun Life Stadium.
Stanton wasn’t entirely against the idea – he went into Thursday night’s game hitting just .161 at home, but .320 on the road.
Stanton gave his fans something to cheer about as he homered and drove in five runs and the Marlins held on for an 11-9 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I don’t know if it’s the atmosphere or the orange seats, I don’t know,” Stanton said. “This place hasn’t treated me very well but you can’t be complaining about that. I play 80 games here next year. Hopefully I play a little better here next year.”
Pedro Alvarez, one of the Pirates’ top rookies, hit a three-run homer off Jose Veras in the ninth to pull the Pirates within 11-9. Leo Nunez came in and struck out the final two batters to record his 30th save in 38 opportunities.
“That was interesting,” Rodriguez said with a smile.
Alvarez went 4 for 5 with five RBIs.
“I’ve been trying to make adjustments, learn as much as I can this whole year, and finish off on a strong foot,” Alvarez said.
Even Alvarez has been impressed by Stanton.
[photogallerylink id=28885 align=left]”He’s a great player and I know he’s going to have a bright future,” Alvarez said. “He’s impressive to see hit, the kind of power he’s got, and how mature he is for such a young guy.”
Wes Helms drove in two runs in the Marlins’ four-run first inning and starter Chris Volstad (12-9) pitched six innings, allowing two runs. Volstad went 3-0 with a 0.83 ERA in his final three starts.
“Looking back, it’s just executing pitches,” Volstad said. “You get two strikes on a guy, you don’t have to throw 95, you just have to locate.”
Rookies Stanton, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez and Ozzie Martinez accounted for 10 of the Marlins’ 13 hits.
Stanton had an RBI single in the first, a three-run homer off Zach Duke (8-15) to deep center field in the fourth, and another RBI single in the sixth. The home run was his 22nd of the season and just his seventh at Sun Life Stadium.
“He’s amazing, he just keeps getting better,” Rodriguez said. “The pitches that were getting him out before he’s hitting back up the middle. Even the home run was pretty much to left-center field. He’s been doing a great job making adjustments.”
With the Marlins leading 5-2 in the fourth, Dan Uggla hit an RBI double followed by Stanton’s shot to give the Marlins a 9-2 lead.
“At first it looked like it was going to be a blowout, so (the RBIs) didn’t really matter,” Stanton said. “But the Pirates came back so the RBIs helped with the win.”
Duke allowed nine runs – four earned – and eight hits in four innings.
“Just erratic command, honestly, that’s all it was,” Duke said.
The Pirates put together a rally in the eighth with four straight singles to start the inning and drew two bases-loaded walks to pull within 10-6, but Clay Hensley got Delwyn Young to fly out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Ronny Cedeno also homered for the Pirates.
Notes: Pirates rookies Jose Tabata and Alvarez extended their hitting streaks to 13 and 10 games, respectively. … Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen failed to reach base, snapping his streak at 24 games. … Each of the Marlins wore Gaby Sanchez T-shirts during batting practice in support of their teammate’s quest to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. … Stanton has hit 17 home runs since the All-Star break, which ties Gary Sheffield’s franchise record set in 1996.