Ozuna reaches safely in 31st straight game

Center fielder has worked on plate discipline with hitting coach Bonds

Ozuna reaches safely in 31st straight game

MIAMI -- Make it 31 games and counting for Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna.

With two doubles and a walk on Tuesday afternoon in Miami's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay at Marlins Park, Ozuna extended his streak of reaching safely to 31 games, the longest such string in the Majors this season.

The hot-hitting 25-year-old raised his batting average to .327, and in May, he's leading the National League with a .424 average (36-for-85).

Manager Don Mattingly credits Ozuna's turnaround to April 24 at San Francisco, a game in which he walked twice vs. the Giants. He followed that up with two more walks the next day in Los Angeles, and it got him on his way to tracking pitches.

"When you get walks, everything is better because you're on base," Ozuna said. "Everything goes up. Your average is going to get better."

Ozuna's stretch of reaching safely in 31 straight games matches the longest streak by a Marlins player since Casey McGehee equaled that from June 4-July 7, 2014.

Ozuna opened the season batting second, behind Dee Gordon, but he never got going in that spot, which required being selective in case Gordon was going to attempt to steal.

Ozuna has worked closely with Miami hitting coach Barry Bonds since Spring Training, and he's worked on plate discipline and pitch recognition.

Admittedly, Ozuna wasn't comfortable hitting second. Now he's flourishing in the middle of the order, either fifth or sixth, behind Giancarlo Stanton.

"Now I'm ready," Ozuna said. "I started listening to Barry and put the little things to work and practice on my swing. When you are in a ready position to hit, you see everything better."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.