New-look lineup produces immediately

March 1st, 2016
Christian Yelich jump-started the Marlins' first-inning rally with a single to center. (Denis Bancroft/Marlins)

JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Don Mattingly's first lineup played out according to plan early in the Marlins' 5-1 win over the University of Miami on Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium.

One reason Giancarlo Stanton is now batting fourth is because percentages show the No. 3 hitter comes off most frequently with no one on base. That scenario played out in the first inning, but Miami was still able to generate a two-out rally started by Christian Yelich.

In 2015, the Marlins opened the season with Dee Gordon leading off, followed by Yelich and Stanton. On Tuesday, Gordon was first, Marcell Ozuna second and Justin Bour was hitting fifth.

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"What did we say?" Mattingly said. "Christian, he was up there with nobody on. It would have been Stanton."

The Marlins strung together three straight two-out singles in the first inning off right-hander Keven Pimentel. Yelich and Stanton each slapped hits to center, putting runners at the corners for Bour, who delivered with a base hit also up the middle.

"It's really the batting order the first time through," Yelich said. "After that, it's kind of wherever it picks up after each inning. I don't see it being too big of a deal. It should be fine."

More than results, Tuesday was about getting back into game situations. It didn't take long for Yelich to find out how you never know which way the ball will bounce.

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On his slide into third on Stanton's single, the throw hopped and bounced off Yelich's back.

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"Right in the shoulder, neck area," Yelich said. "What are you going to do? I'm fine. No biggie. It's part of the game. You can kind of tell when something is going to happen when you slide in there. Oh well."

The Marlins started right-hander Jake Esch, ranked by as the organization's ninth prospect, gave up one run on one hit and two walks in the first inning. He was finished after 27 pitches.

"It's a high energy situation," Esch said. "I was real excited to be out there. I did my best to bring the energy down. It took two or three batters to do so. Lesson learned."

Esch, who played collegiately at Georgia Tech, was used to playing against the Hurricanes. But in school, Esch was initially a second baseman and he also was a reliever. He'd never started in college.

"I've started in the infield," Esch said. "I've played against them, but never on the mound. Unique experience. First start against a collegiate team."