Ozuna beating shift during on-base streak

Ozuna beating shift during on-base streak

ATLANTA -- Shift Marcell Ozuna at your own risk. Opposing teams are learning that the hard way as the Marlins' center fielder remains one of the hottest hitters in the Majors.

Ozuna had three hits, including an RBI double, in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Braves that extended his on-base streak to a Major League season-most 34 games.

The Braves, like other teams, are having a tough time positioning their infielders, because when they do, Ozuna finds the vacated hole.

"If they throw me away, you have to swing that way," Ozuna said. "If they shift that way, I'm looking for a pitch that way."

Ozuna's first hit was a ground-ball single to left-center. He added a double to deep center, over the head of Ender Inciarte, and a leadoff single to left in the eighth. He raised his slash line to .343/.387/.591.

Ozuna's eye exam with umpire

"He's settled in. He's gotten himself [swinging] at strikes, and he's talented," manager Don Mattingly said. "So, it's like he's capable of this. It's not like, 'Oh, he's hot.' I think this is something he can do regularly, but it takes concentration."

Mattingly said to remain a consistent hitter, Ozuna must keep up on how teams are approaching him, and adjust accordingly.

Ozuna's on-base streak is the longest such streak by a Marlin since Logan Morrison also reached 34 times from April 1-June 3, 2011.

The Marlins' record is 46 set Luis Castillo from April 25-June 21, 2002.

"More patient," Ozuna said of the key to his streak. "That's what happens when you find a pitch good to hit. That's why I'm having success now."

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.