JUPITER, Fla. -- When a pitcher throws 100 mph, he tends to get a hitter's attention in a hurry. In the fifth inning of Sunday's 7-4 loss to the Cardinals, the Marlins received a wakeup call when hard-throwing prospect Sandy Alcantara took the mound.
The lanky right-hander has thrown 102 mph in the past, so Miami's batters braced themselves to be ready to swing. The Marlins were able to do damage, striking for four runs in the inning, with Giancarlo Stanton making a big impact.
Stanton's first hit of Spring Training was a scorched two-out RBI double down the third-base line.
"With a guy like that, he's throwing 100 out there," Stanton said. "It helped us get more into an in-season game routine, where it was like, it was not a comfortable at-bat."
Alcantara maxed at 98 mph, with Stanton's two-base hit coming on a 97-mph fastball.
Stanton noted the other Cardinals pitchers weren't necessarily comfortable to hit against. But until Alcantara entered, no one was coming close to triple digits with their fastballs.
"Just to get on time to that is much better, whether it's straight to them or whatever," Stanton said. "To get on time for something like that, you know, timing and everything is there. It's just putting everything together."
It's just two games into Grapefruit League play, and Marlins manager Don Mattingly noted that hitters, in general, seem to struggle more against pitchers who change speeds. For some reason, the Marlins tend to hit better off hard throwers.
"Velocity seems to get hit more down here than soft [throws]," Mattingly said. "A guy that can mix, add and subtract, seem to give us more trouble."
More than results right now, Mattingly is observing how his team is responding to pitches. What do their takes look like?
"You want to feel like you can get on that fastball," Mattingly said. "When you're comfortable, you can get to that [and] you have to start figuring out the other."
The four-run fifth inning got the Marlins back into the game, although they still trailed, 5-4, at the time.
Overall, it was a lackluster day for the Marlins, who trailed by five runs early, with most of the key regulars replaced in the fifth inning. Prado, Yelich and Stanton each were lifted for pinch-runners.
"It's your last at-bat during the day," Stanton said. "It helped get you locked in, and it makes you have better at-bats. You see [high fastball velocity], and then it becomes less intimidating. Inside pitch, stay on it. It's good to be there this early."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.