Ozuna 'cleans up' for Marlins with huge jack

April 21st, 2016

MIAMI -- Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna hits with power against the Nationals. Seven of his 10 hits vs. Washington have gone for extra bases, including four doubles and three homers.

That includes the one he hit in the first inning on Thursday, a three-run blast that powered the Marlins to a 5-1 win in the series finale. It's what your cleanup hitter should provide.

Ozuna filled the cleanup role with Giancarlo Stanton given the day off, and came through with the big hit of the game.

After watching Bryce Harper's solo shot in the top of the first inning that gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead, Ozuna assumed his role in the bottom half of the inning with runners and first and second and one out.

"I felt good," Ozuna said of his opportunity to be the focal point of the Marlins' lineup. "I felt like I should attack the ball and that worked pretty good today."

Indeed it did. Ozuna drove a 1-1 pitch from Nationals ace Max Scherzer over the left-field fence, scoring both Ichiro Suzuki and Christian Yelich in front of him.

It was a key at-bat because Ozuna knows the importance of jumping on Scherzer early.

"Yeah those guys, Scherzer, [Stephen] Strasburg, you have to get up early or we don't have a chance because they're going to move [the ball] on the corner, move it in, and they're going to work pretty good that way," Ozuna said.

Ozuna said his approach was simple; "I just see the ball and attack."

But he did admit to being a little extra pumped up in the clutch situation.

"Yeah, a little bit because I was staying back and my hands were going in front good and I hit it good," he said. "I knew that ball was gone."