Marlins experiment with lineup, but come up short

Miami's starting pitcher bats somewhere other than ninth for first time since 2005

Marlins experiment with lineup, but come up short

NEW YORK -- Working with a short bench, Marlins manager Dan Jennings decided to experiment with the lineup on Sunday in the series finale against the Mets at Citi Field.

For the first time since 2005, a Miami starting pitcher batted somewhere other than ninth. The altered lineup produced nine hits, but not enough runs in a 4-3 loss.

"We were one short on the bench, so we had to maximize those opportunities," Jennings said. "We felt at that point, it was the right thing to do, and hopefully, it would extend our pitchers, if we needed to."

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (bruised left shoulder) was only available in case of an emergency, and catcher J.T. Realmuto was out of the starting lineup.

The cleanup spot has been anchored by Justin Bour, who homered off Bartolo Colon in the sixth inning, giving him three straight starts with a home run.

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Starter David Phelps batted eighth, with catcher Jhonatan Solano ninth.

The only other pitcher in franchise history to bat higher than ninth was Dontrelle Willis, who did it four times in '05. Then-manager Jack McKeon hit Willis seventh twice and eighth twice.

After Phelps got through six innings on the mound, Jennings double-switched, pinch-hitting Marcell Ozuna in the No. 8 spot. Ozuna remained in the game and replaced Ichiro Suzuki, who was hitting fifth. So when the pitcher's turn came around in the No. 5 spot, Jeff Baker was available, and he pinch-hit and grounded out with two runners in scoring position in the eighth inning.

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"In the sixth inning, it worked exactly how we drew it up," Jennings said. "We got exactly what we were hoping for, that opportunity. It worked out well, and gave us a good opportunity there."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.