The Miami Marlins own the majors' worst record, but they've been playing much better lately.
The Marlins are 25-50, but manager Mike Redmond 's club has won 12 of 21 after taking three of four in San Francisco over the weekend."Awesome road trip," Justin Ruggiano said after Sunday's 7-2 victory. "We played some tough teams (Giants and NL West-leading Arizona). To come out with a winning record (4-3), first time this year, you can see things turn around a little bit."
The pitching staff carried the club on the trip - posting a 2.31 ERA to overcome the team batting .211 - but Miami has been better at the plate over the last 21 games, averaging 4.2 runs and hitting .254. The Marlins score a MLB-low 3.1 runs per game and are 29th in batting at .230.
"Getting (Giancarlo) Stanton back and (Logan) Morrison back, it's a big boost to our ball club," Redmond told the Marlins' official website.
Stanton is batting .288 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 13 games since returning from hamstring injury, while Morrison has a .286 batting average since his season debut earlier this month following knee surgery.
The Marlins open their six-game homestand with Fernandez (4-4, 3.05 ERA) coming off a fourth straight quality start. The 20-year-old right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA during that stretch after giving up two runs in a season-high 7 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Arizona."I see him as a Cy Young (winner) in the near future because he's got all his pitches," Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's that good."
Fernandez wasn't as good in a 4-3 loss at the Twins (34-38) on April 23, surrendering four runs in five innings, three coming on a homer by rookie Oswaldo Arcia .
Kevin Correia (6-4, 3.87) allowed two runs in seven innings in beating Fernandez, yet his 6.52 ERA in 16 appearances versus Miami - which includes nine starts - is his worst against any team he's faced more than 12 times.
The veteran right-hander, though, has struck out 19 with one walk in his last three outings. Correia fanned six and issued no free passes in Wednesday's 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
"It was a rough start, giving up the (Alejandro De Aza) home run to start the game, but I was pretty good after that," Correia told the Twins' official website.
There's a chance Correia will face Ruggiano, Florida's leader with 11 homers and 28 RBIs, to start Tuesday's game after the center fielder led off Sunday's contest with a homer and added a two-run shot in the ninth.
"We just led him off in hopes he'd put together some good at-bats and it happened, he hit a couple of big home runs," Redmond said following Ruggiano's third career start as a leadoff hitter.
Since capping off the April 23 doubleheader with an 8-5 victory, the Marlins have dropped seven straight to AL opponents.
Minnesota is 7-3 in interleague play since opening 1-6 against the NL this season.
The Twins took two of three in their only previous visit to Miami in 2007. Josh Willingham , Minnesota's leader with 10 homers, was hitless in nine at-bats for the Marlins in that series.
|June 19, 2013||Mike Pelfrey||15-Day DL||Back strain|
|June 11, 2013||Jared Burton||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|June 10, 2013||Aaron Hicks||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|June 01, 2013||Justin Morneau||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|May 29, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|May 29, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|June 09, 2013||Chris Coghlan||15-Day DL||Right calf irritation|
|June 09, 2013||Casey Kotchman||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 27, 2013||Alex Sanabia||15-Day DL||Right groin discomfort|
|May 19, 2013||Matt Diaz||15-Day DL||Left knee bone contusion|
|May 08, 2013||Chris Valaika||15-Day DL||Fractured left wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Donovan Solano||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal muscle|
MIAMI (AP) -- Marcell Ozuna has given the Miami Marlins big hits and some hope for the future.
The 22-year-old rookie outfielder drove in two runs to help the Marlins to a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night in interleague play.
"He's put together a lot of great at-bats, big at-bats, and he did again tonight," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
Ozuna is hitting .438 (21 for 48) with runners in scoring position, driving in 22 runs for the last-place Marlins.
"Just going to home plate and thinking, see the ball up a little bit and if it's in the middle, swing or if it's away and up, swing no matter what," Ozuna said.
Derek Dietrich also provided some offense with a home run for the Marlins, who have won four of five.
A.J. Ramos (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings in relief and Steve Cishek worked the ninth for his 13th save.
Minnesota dropped its third game in the last four.
"It wasn't our night," Twins manager Rod Gardenhire said. "We left some pitches up in the zone late. Every time we did, they seemed to whack it. We also made three errors. You don't win too many games when you make three errors whether it costs you runs or not."
Miami starter Jose Fernandez allowed one run and four hits in five innings. The 20-year-old phenom struck out three and walked three while throwing 94 pitches, 59 for strikes.
"He kept us in it," Redmond said. "You think about a young kid who didn't really have his best stuff, but still was pretty impressive out there and made pitches when he absolutely needed to. That's the kind of guy he is."
Fernandez is 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in five June starts.
"I wanted to keep pitching, but my stuff wasn't there today and I agree with the decision," Fernandez said.
Minnesota's Justin Morneau appeared to line into a double play to end the eighth, but first baseman Logan Morrison dropped the throw, allowing Joe Mauer to remain on base. Two batters later, Trevor Plouffe took advantage of Morrison's error with an RBI single, scoring Mauer to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Ozuna's RBI double in the bottom of the eighth after Morrison doubled pushed the lead to 4-2.
"I'm really proud of (Ozuna) and surprised he's doing so well especially driving in tough runs," Morrison said.
Cishek retired the Twins in order in the ninth.
Josh Willingham 's RBI single in the third opened the scoring for Minnesota.
Kevin Correia (6-5) held the Marlins scoreless through five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. After Ed Lucas singled and Giancarlo Stanton walked, Morrison singled to load the bases.
Ozuna singled to center, scoring Lucas as center fielder Clete Thomas bobbled the ball, also allowing Stanton to score for a 2-1 lead.
"I felt I made one bad pitch that inning and that was enough to give up a couple of runs," Correia said.
Correia allowed two runs and five hits in six innings after beating the Marlins on April 23.
Brian Duensing relieved Correia and yielded a home run to Dietrich, his seventh, for a 3-1 advantage. It was a rare home run as Duensing had not surrendered one in his previous 48 appearances and Dietrich was hitless in 17 at-bats before the homer.
"He made a simple adjustment for that at-bat," Redmond said. "He couldn't find his elbow guard and I told him, `Well, don't wear the elbow guard' and he hit a home run. Then the next time he had the elbow guard on and I said, `Take the elbow guard off' and he still got out, but I think we're headed in the right direction."
NOTES: Morrison has five multi-hit games in 11 games since returning from the disabled list. ... Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday retroactive to June 19, but Gardenhire believes the break will benefit Pelfrey, who missed last season with Tommy John surgery. "This is probably a good time of the season to take a step back, miss a couple of starts," Gardenhire said. "He told me he's probably 90 percent right now, so believe me, he won't miss much work." ... Minnesota will send LHP Scott Diamond (5-6, 5.27 ERA) to the mound in the Wednesday afternoon finale against RHP Tom Koehler (1-5, 4.65 ERA).