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Marlins 8, Padres 2

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins pounced on San Diego Padres pitching early and built a comfortable lead to cruise to an 8-2 win on Friday night in the first of a three-game set at Marlins Park.

The Marlins, losers of 100 games last season, have started 4-1while the Padres dropped their third of their first four games.

Major League Baseball's worst offense a year ago, averaging 3.2 runs per game, has experienced a reawakening in offensive production. They had 13 hits and scored eight runs for the second game in a row.

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, already hot entering the game, hit leadoff for the first time in 2014 and went 4-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and a stolen base.

Newly-acquired catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, hitting .167 entering Friday, went 3-for-4 with a two-run double. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run home run to ignite the offense in the first inning, and Casey McGehee, who currently leads all of baseball with 10 RBIs, drove in two on a 1-for-3 night.

For the Padres, offense didn't come nearly as easily.

Marlins fifth starter Tom Koehler went six strong innings for the win, giving up two earned runs on seven hits against them. He was shutting the Padres out through five, but in the sixth, first baseman Yonder Alonso scorched a double down to right that scored a run. He was then driven in by a single up the middle from second baseman Jedd Gyorko.

Marlins reliever Brad Hand recorded a three-inning save, shutting out the Padres over his three hitless innings.

The two teams return to the diamond on Saturday with their Opening Day starters on the mound, Miami with Jose Fernandez (1-0, 1.50) and San Diego with Andrew Cashner (0-0, 1.50) as the Padres skip fifth starter Robbie Erlin.

Padres starter Eric Stults only lasted four innings, giving up five earned runs and seven hits.

Stanton turned on an 0-1 fastball from Stults in the first inning to belt a two-run homer that traveled an estimated 458 feet.

The Marlins added three runs in the third. McGehee hit a sacrifice fly that drove in shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who led off the inning with a double to right. Saltalamacchia later hit a rope into the left-center field gap that plated two to give Miami a 5-0 advantage.

In the fifth, Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones drove in McGehee when he lined a double over right fielder Chris Denorfia that hit the wall on one hop. Jones then scored on a fielder's choice for a seventh Miami run.

Even the early Marlins outs were powerful. The third and fourth innings ended with flyouts to the warning track by center fielder Marcell Ozuna and second baseman Jeff Baker.

San Diego threatened in the fifth, loading the bases with three singles, but ultimately stranded all three.

NOTES: Friday's game was a homecoming for former Padres 1B Yonder Alonso and C Yasmani Grandal. Both played high school ball in Miami and collegiately for the University of Miami. ... The Marlins went with a new leadoff batter on Friday against Padres LHP Eric Stults. Manager Mike Redmond used hot-hitting SS Adeiny Hechavarria (7-for-14) at the top of the order instead of LF Christian Yelich, who led off in Miami's first four games but was batting .158 (3-for-19). Veteran Reed Johnson was in left, hitting eighth.
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