ATLANTA -- Perhaps the patience is starting to pay off for Lewis Brinson.The rookie center fielder, who has had his struggles at the plate, blasted his first career grand slam and added a single in the Marlins' 10-9 walk-off loss to the Braves on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park."It was
ATLANTA -- Perhaps the patience is starting to pay off for Lewis Brinson.
The rookie center fielder, who has had his struggles at the plate, blasted his first career grand slam and added a single in the Marlins' 10-9 walk-off loss to the Braves on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park.
"It was good to see," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Lewis is getting better and better. Yesterday I thought were his best swings of the year as far as getting in position and having aggressive swings. And to see that today and even the base hit, he's able to fight that ball off instead of get caught in there. This is definitely encouraging with Lewis in the way he's starting to move forward, and hopefully he keeps riding that."
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
A big reason the Marlins are allowing Brinson to develop in the big leagues was reflected in his fourth-inning grand slam off Julio Teheran. The swing and the result are reminders of his natural talents.
"It was good," Brinson said. "We have to win that game, though. It's a tough loss. It feels good to hit one hard and hit one out. But it doesn't feel as good because we didn't win the ballgame."
Brinson's sixth homer highlighted a six-run fourth inning and emphatically showed the raw power the 24-year-old rookie possesses.
Brinson's shot to left was a no-doubter that Statcast™ projected at 450 feet -- the longest homer by a Marlins player this season by 19 feet -- with an exit velocity of 113.2 mph and a 25-degree launch angle.
Along with Brinson, Miguel Rojas belted two home runs to celebrate the first multi-homer game of his career.
Despite the three long balls, the Marlins endured their toughest loss of the season, squandering a five-run lead in the ninth inning.
"Hopefully, we can have good offensive days like we saw today," Rojas said. "I'm happy to see Lewis swinging the bat."
In his first full season, Brinson has been struggling at the plate, batting .168. The grand slam snapped an 0-for-16 slump.
Rojas noted teams like the Braves are exploiting the young Marlins by throwing them plenty of offspeed pitches.
"A couple of days we've been getting more offspeed pitches, and in the beginning of the games, we're getting pitched like that from the get-go," Rojas said. "The approach from everyone in the lineup has been better, making them throw better pitches to get us out. I think that's the name of the game right there, being a tough out, instead of just trying to get a hit or whatever. You have to try to be a tough out."
Until the fourth inning, the Marlins didn't have a hit off Teheran, but Justin Bour led off with a triple. When Brinson stepped to the plate, the Marlins already were ahead by two runs.
"We had very good at-bats," Brinson said. "Everybody battled all day. We just couldn't come up with the closing punch in the ninth inning. That's what it comes down to against a team like that. We have to defend as well. We just have to win those ballgames."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.