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Rojas leads Miami with HR vs. Kershaw, old team

Shortstop's 3-run shot, Realmuto's two roundtrippers help Marlins take rubber game
Special to MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Not long after the Marlins' Miguel Rojas clanked a three-run home run off the foul pole against former teammate Clayton Kershaw, to lead his team to an 8-6 victory, he had no trouble recalling the date of his most memorable performance in the Majors: June 18, 2014.

Sure, Rojas loved everything about Wednesday's victory and how it galvanized a young team, showing the kids on the roster they have what it takes to overcome a Cy Young Award winner. It's just that Rojas remembers being that young player, too, and his breakout moment as a member of the Dodgers will always hold a special place in his heart.

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LOS ANGELES -- Not long after the Marlins' Miguel Rojas clanked a three-run home run off the foul pole against former teammate Clayton Kershaw, to lead his team to an 8-6 victory, he had no trouble recalling the date of his most memorable performance in the Majors: June 18, 2014.

Sure, Rojas loved everything about Wednesday's victory and how it galvanized a young team, showing the kids on the roster they have what it takes to overcome a Cy Young Award winner. It's just that Rojas remembers being that young player, too, and his breakout moment as a member of the Dodgers will always hold a special place in his heart.

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That June game four years ago will also be something Kershaw holds dear. That was the day of the future Hall of Famer's no-hitter, and Rojas played a key role.

It was the first multi-RBI game of Rojas' career, as he delivered a bases-clearing double in the third. Rojas also made a tough play behind the third-base bag in the seventh inning to help preserve history.

Video: COL@LAD: Rojas' great throw keeps no-no intact

"It was a special day for me and it's even more special because it's the only [no-hitter] he has thrown so far and he's had an amazing career," Rojas said. "I feel like that was a pretty special moment in my life."

In many ways, Rojas was witness Wednesday to a game that some of his current teammates might hold in high regard. It was a game that gave the Marlins victories on consecutive days for the first time this season, but it was so much more.

In his fifth career start, the Marlins' Trevor Richards struck out 10 in just 4 2/3 innings, outdueling Kershaw on his home turf.

Video: MIA@LAD: Richards strikes out 10 over 4 2/3 innings

Merandy Gonzalez pitched three innings in relief of Richards to collect his first career victory.

And while J.T. Realmuto is now five years into an impressive career, he might always remember Wednesday as the game when he continued his torment of the Dodgers with two more home runs.

Video: MIA@LAD: Realmuto launches pair of home runs

"For a young group of guys in this clubhouse, it shows a lot because you don't have a lot of chances to face a Cy Young, an MVP," Rojas said. "Nights like this give this group a lot of confidence that they can do it."

Richards figures to make the most of the day, keeping the Dodgers off balance with his fastball and showing that he just might be here to stay after rocketing from independent baseball just two years ago.

Richards is so low-key and unassuming, he spent his winter as a substitute teacher in his hometown of Aviston, Ill. He wouldn't say whether it was harder to keep the attention of grade schoolers or to work his way through a Major League lineup, only offering that they both have their challenges.

"It was cool, but I just tried to stay in the moment and enjoy it as long as I could," Richards said. "[Facing Kershaw] was probably easier said than done, but everybody we have played is a name that I know, so you get used to it. It's more just focusing on your job and what you have to do that day. My job was their lineup."

It might have been just the seventh victory all season for the Marlins, but it was filled with plenty to savor. Afterwards, Realmuto was more interested in talking about Richards.

"Just to be able to work with him through that, it's fun to work with guys who work so hard, and aren't scared," Realmuto said. "They came up here and attack guys with their stuff and that's what he did tonight."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Richards established himself quickly in the first inning, striking out both Chris Taylor and Corey Seager, two of the offensive mainstays that guided the Dodgers to last year's World Series. After a walk to Yasmani Grandal, Richards followed that up by fanning 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger to strike out the side.

SOUND SMART
Realmuto assured the day would be a success as he collected a hit in his 19th consecutive game against the Dodgers. It is the longest such streak against the storied franchise at the start of a career since at least 1900.

UP NEXT
After an off-day Thursday, right-hander Jose Urena (0-3, 5.88 ERA) will take the mound at Marlins Park in the opener of a three-game series vs. the Rockies. The Marlins have lost Urena's last seven starts going back to last season. Colorado will counter with left-hander Tyler Anderson (1-0, 4.32).

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Miami Marlins, Miguel Rojas