MIAMI -- Hours before Thursday’s 9-2 win over the Braves, Marlins manager Don Mattingly discussed Brian Anderson's home run-hitting ability and how he was on track to surpass 25 homers.
Anderson made his manager look smart on Thursday night, blasting two shots (his first career multihomer game) to reach 20 homers on the season.
After going back to back with Starlin Castro -- just the fifth set of consecutive home runs for Miami this season -- to give the Marlins a 3-0 lead in the first inning, Anderson launched a second drive to right field in the fourth.
“It’s definitely a personal goal to get to 20,” Anderson said. “I try to set some personal goals just to keep me going on those tough days. But at the same time, I’m more focused on winning baseball games and trying to be a better player each and every day.
“It’s good to see when you get those personal accomplishments, but at the end of the day, it’s nice to see us playing good Marlins baseball.”
Anderson turned on an 86.8-mph cutter from Dallas Keuchel for his 20th homer, a no-doubter with a launch angle of 35 degrees and an exit velocity of 105.1 mph.
"The first home run in the first inning I thought was a pretty good two-seam,” Keuchel said. “He just got up in the air the opposite way. Guys are big and strong now and able to lift and separate. He had a good day. He's a fellow Razorback, so I guess if I'm going to give it up to somebody, I'll give it up to a Razorback."
Anderson went 3-for-4, adding a single in the third inning.
Jon Berti contributed to Miami’s powerhouse offense with three singles and two RBIs, while Castro added a two-run homer and an RBI double. Eight of 10 Marlins to bat contributed at least one hit.
“It was good today,” Mattingly said. “[Berti]’s been pretty good. [Castro], put him in the two-hole today and he responded. [Anderson]’s been really pretty hot. [Garrett Cooper]’s starting to heat up a little bit. He kind of had a little spell there. It was a good day for us. We did a nice job again getting the ball up in the strike zone a little bit.”
To help Anderson’s day stand out, Elieser Hernandez was able to keep the offensively powerful Braves at bay through six innings, allowing just two hits while striking out seven to snap Miami’s six-game skid.
"The slider was such an offspeed pitch almost for him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Hernandez. “It was hard to get a hold of, and he did a good job. He kept attacking the strike zone and hitting with that pitch and kept us really off balance a lot the whole game."
Anderson is having a breakout year in his third Major League season, hitting .252/.333/.468 with 48 extra-base hits. Since June 15, 29 of Anderson’s 43 hits have gone for extra bases (15 doubles, one triple and 13 homers). He leads the National League in extra-base hits over that span, topping Josh Donaldson’s 28.
In Anderson's past 12 games, he has seven homers and 12 RBIs along with a slugging percentage of .804.
“You see it in the Minor Leagues, you see the swing and you see the body type,” Mattingly said. “He sees the baseball early. He’s got a pretty good eye. So the key for him is using that, just staying with his approach. He can hit the ball anywhere, but he usually uses the whole field. So he’s going to get bigger and stronger. … He’s going to get better.”