Marlins' offense can't unlock key to timely hits

Marlins' offense can't unlock key to timely hits

MIAMI -- When Adeiny Hechavarria's towering drive to left clanked off the foul pole in the ninth inning on Thursday night, the Marlins had their third home run in the three-game series against the Cardinals.

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Of late, the long ball hasn't been the issue, it's the lack of timely hits that once again caught up to Miami in a 5-1 loss at Marlins Park.

Jennings on the Marlins' loss

After being swept, the Marlins have dropped seven of eight, and they are a season-worst, 30-44.

In the series, the Marlins scored five runs. Giancarlo Stanton had two homers and drove in three in the set. Hechavarria's solo shot in the ninth inning prevented a sixth shutout.

The Marlins were 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position against St. Louis.

"You're just going to have to keep grinding," manager Dan Jennings said. "I think we're 2-for-28 our last two series with runners in scoring position, and that's not going to get it done. They're grinding through, but the results are not there."

The Cardinals have a formidable staff with a 2.67 team ERA.

"We knew we were going to have to grind out at-bats," Jennings said. "But you have to take advantage of opportunities, and we haven't been doing that. It's a little frustrating."

Hechavarria legs out bunt

To get going, Miami needs to rely on more than just Stanton, who had one of the club's four hits. The slugger also walked.

The offense is expected to get Michael Morse (right ring finger) back from the disabled list in a couple of days. But third baseman Martin Prado (right shoulder) could be out until after the All-Star break. Until the lineup is healthy, the rest have to pick up the slack.

"Overall, we're going to have to do a better job, have better focus and concentration in the batter's box, when we have the opportunities that present itself, especially against the good teams," Jennings said. "When a team is in a little bit of a funk, and we're in that, guys tend to press and try to do too much instead of slowing the game down. Staying inside themselves, and staying with their approach, we're trying to do a little more than we need to instead of trusting our abilities."

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.