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Mattingly might mix and match to generate runs

Special to MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- As the Marlins began a nine-game road trip against the Twins at Target Field on Tuesday, manager Don Mattingly said his club needed to find a way to score more runs.

With the Interleague series being played under American League rules, Mattingly has one more hitter to help bolster an offense that ranks fourth in the National League and seventh in all of baseball in batting average.

Full Game Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS -- As the Marlins began a nine-game road trip against the Twins at Target Field on Tuesday, manager Don Mattingly said his club needed to find a way to score more runs.

With the Interleague series being played under American League rules, Mattingly has one more hitter to help bolster an offense that ranks fourth in the National League and seventh in all of baseball in batting average.

Full Game Coverage

Getting on base hasn't been the problem, however. It's been knocking the runners in. Despite their lofty batting average numbers, the Marlins entered Tuesday ranked 25th out of 30 Major League teams in runs scored.

"I think that's one of the areas we can improve on," Mattingly said. "Being able to take the guys that were getting on base and getting a few more of them in and having a little bit better approach with men in scoring position, making sure we're staying patient and knowing what we want to do with the guys that we're facing."

The good news for the Marlins is they have options to help fill the traditional run producing spots in the lineup.

On Tuesday, it was the struggling Giancarlo Stanton who manned the cleanup spot. Stanton began the season by batting fourth in 42 of the team's first 45 games, but was there Tuesday for just the second time in the past 12 games.

Video: PIT@MIA: Stanton plates Ichiro with RBI double

Stanton began the night with 12 homers and 27 RBIs, but was hitting just .110 with two homers and three RBIs in his previous 21 games spanning 84 plate appearances.

"More of a feeling than anything today," Mattingly said. "We'll probably still do a little bit of mixing and matching with [Marcell Ozuna] and him, but today, I felt like four was going to be the spot for him."

With Stanton trying to get his season back on track, it's been Ozuna who has seen a majority of the time hitting fourth over the past two weeks.

Ozuna leads the Marlins with 29 RBIs and has just one fewer homer than Stanton. His consistency has been a big reason why Miami has been able to stay afloat through Stanton's struggles. Ozuna is hitting .341 with five homers and 12 RBIs since May 14.

"Marcell has given us a really good option in that 3-4 hole or 4-5 hole for us," Mattingly said.

Another option for Mattingly is Christian Yelich, who has kept his hot finish to 2015 alive through the first two-plus months of this season. Yelich's batting average hasn't been below .300 since the second day of the regular season, and it has hovered between .315 and .330 since early May.

Word of Yelich's great second half of last season got to Mattingly soon after he was named manager of the team in November, and the skipper hasn't been disappointed.

"I thought he was a really good hitter when I came over here," Mattingly said. "He's a really good hitter and he's only gonna get better and better as he continues to grow and improve."

Dan Myers is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Marlins on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton