Marlins make late power play vs. Scherzer

Yelich bashes No. 20, far cry from previous high of 9; Dietrich potent in pinch

Marlins make late power play vs. Scherzer

MIAMI -- A power boost by Christian Yelich and Derek Dietrich in the seventh provided some hope, but the damage done early was too much to overcome as the Marlins fell to the Nationals, 8-3, on Wednesday night at Marlins Park.

Yelich's solo shot and Dietrich's two-run pinch-hit blast off Max Scherzer cut the deficit in half, and served as a reminder that both left-handed hitters are long ball threats. Yelich reached a personal milestone with 20 homers, and Dietrich now has two pinch-hit shots in a week.

Tagging a former Cy Young Award winner like Scherzer twice in the same inning is not a common feat.

Dietrich's two-run homer

"We've done OK with him," Yelich said. "He's gotten us a few times, we've gotten him a few times. That's just baseball. Tonight he got us."

Yelich's power has started to come more regularly since July 8, as he's hit 14 in 66 games.

According to Statcast™, Yelich's average launch angle has increased to 23.4 degrees since the beginning of July, compared to 20.7 degrees before. That slight increase has increased the average distance of his line drives and fly balls to 314 feet, compared to 296.

Yelich's exit velocity is up just a tick as well -- from 96.4 to 96.6 mph.

Statcast™ projected Dietrich's homer at 405 feet from home plate, with an exit velocity of 100 mph.

The Marlins have long felt Yelich, a first-round Draft pick in 2010, would grow into a home run threat. It was just a matter of when. Before this season, the center fielder had never hit more than nine (2014).

From his rookie season in 2013 through 2015, Yelich had 20 homers in 332 games. This season, in his 146th game, he connected on No. 20.

"I think it's still going," manager Don Mattingly said. "There is still room for him. It was one of the first true pull homers that we've seen from him, that he gets it up in the air, he hits it clean and gets the right angle. It's coming. I think it's only going to get better."

The home run, according to Statcast™, projected to travel 410 feet with an exit velocity of 107 mph.

Yelich joins Giancarlo Stanton (27) and Marcell Ozuna (23) as Marlins with 20 or more homers. The last time that happened for the club was in 2010 -- Dan Uggla (33), Stanton (22) and Hanley Ramirez (21).

"I think sometimes crossing those barriers, you start to know you can," the manager said. "To hit 20, when before you had nine, to double that in a season, all of a sudden your mind goes, 'I can do that.' It takes you to a different place and a different confidence."

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.