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Rookies lead Marlins to fourth win in five games

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Derek Dietrich couldn't find what he felt was a vital piece of equipment.

As it turns out, he didn't need it.

The Miami Marlins' hitters, silent for more than half the game, made enough noise late to defeat the Minnesota Twins 4-2 on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

Providing much of the thunder were two rookies -- Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna -- who helped the Marlins overcome their first five scoreless innings.

Ozuna helped push across two runs with a sixth-inning single, and Dietrich homered to lead off the seventh.

"He made a simple adjustment for that at-bat," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said of Dietrich. "He couldn't find his elbow guard. I told him: 'Don't wear the elbow guard', and he hit a home run. That's coaching."

The Marlins, winners for the fourth time in five games, continued their much-improved recent play. At 26-50, they still have the worst record in the majors, but they are 12-9 this month.

The Twins (34-39), meanwhile, lost for the third time in their past four games.

The heroics by Ozuna and Dietrich got another Marlins rookie -- starting pitcher Jose Fernandez -- off the hook.

Fernandez allowed just one run in five innings, but it wasn't his sharpest outing. He walked three batters and allowed four hits, all singles. He threw 94 pitches, 59 for strikes, and the Marlins -- not wanting to overextend the 20-year-old -- opted to pinch-hit for him in the fifth.

"I was horrible," Fernandez said. "I didn't have my breaking ball, and that's a very important pitch. I learned a lot, and that's what I love about the major leagues. You can always learn."

Fernandez was bailed out when the Marlins scored twice to take a 2-1 lead in the sixth. With one out, three straight Marlins got on base -- Ed Lucas on a single, Giancarlo Stanton on a walk and Logan Morrison on a single. Ozuna then singled, and two runs scored, albeit helped by center fielder Thomas' bobble/error.

Ozuna, who went 2-for-4 Tuesday with two RBI, said he had been slumping recently. But he has found the remedy.

"I was thinking too much," Ozuna said. "Now I'm just seeing the ball."

The Marlins, nursing that 2-1 lead after six innings, got an extra run when Dietrich homered 415 feet to right field. After Twins starter Kevin Correia had pitched reasonably -- - two runs in six innings -- Dietrich jumped on the first pitch from reliever Brian Duensing.

It was the first home run allowed by Duensing in 49 consecutive appearances over 50 2/3 innings.

"(Duensing) tried to spin a slider over, and the guy (Dietrich) jumped on it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "(Dietrich) just ambushed him."

The Twins got a run back in the eighth. Joe Mauer led off the inning with a single, advanced to third on a single by Oswaldo Arcia and scored on Trevor Plouffe's single.

The Marlins made it 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, scoring on consecutive doubles to left-center by Logan Morrison and Ozuna.

"(Ozuna) had been scuffling a little bit, but he got that game-winner in San Francisco," Redmond said. "It's really been a turning point for him confidence-wise. He's doing a great job. He's given us exactly what we needed in the middle of that order."

Miami also got excellent work from four relievers who combined to hold the Twins to one run in four innings. Included in that group is closer Steve Cishek, who earned his 13th save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. And the win went to A.J. Ramos (2-2), who pitched two scoreless innings.

"They threw the ball well," Gardenhire said of the Marlins' bullpen. "They have some good arms, and they were popping that ball off the radar gun pretty decent."

The Twins scored first, pushing across one run in the third inning. Clete Thomas drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a single to left by Brian Dozier and scored on a single by former Marlin Josh Willingham.

The quick, two-game series concludes with a day game Wednesday, and Correia is optimistic.

"You win (Wednesday), and that's one out of two," he said. "That's .500 ball, and that's what you shoot for on the road."

NOTES: Marlins OF Justin Ruggiano, who hit two homers Sunday, was scratched from the lineup Tuesday due to a sore shoulder. He did, however, enter the game in the seventh inning, striking out as a pinch-hitter. Ruggiano, who leads the Marlins with 11 home runs -- all of them on the road -- was hurt diving for a ball Sunday. ... Marlins Park opened in 2012, and this is the first time the Twins have played here. The only other time the Twins played in Miami was in 2007 at Sun Life Stadium. RHP Henderson Alvarez is looking like he can help the Marlins on the mound and at the plate. Alvarez, who has missed the season due to a shoulder injury, made a Double-A rehab Sunday and pitched 6 2/3 innings. He also slugged a three-run homer. Alvarez will get one more rehab start on Friday before the team is expected to activate him. ... Attendance at Marlins Park Thursday was 14,581.
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