Stanton’s five hits help Marlins hammer Nationals

WASHINGTON | Mike Stanton came into the major leagues barely two months ago with lots of hype. On Wednesday night, he had the first of what he hopes will be many five-hit games.

Stanton also had four RBIs as he help power the Florida Marlins to a 9-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

The 20-year-old rookie hit a long home run just short of the left field concourse in the seventh inning for his fourth hit. His previous high was three hits. It was his 11th homer, and his teammates marveled at his strength.

“Every time he comes up, we’re just waiting (to see) how far he can hit it,” teammate Hanley Ramirez said.

Ramirez hit a long home run in the second inning to left-center field, but he joked that his had barely cleared the fence.

Stanton’s power is evident, but he wasn’t sure if it was the longest home run he’s hit.

“It was up there. I don’t have a measuring stick,” he said.

Stanton’s five-hit game was Florida’s first since Ramirez did it on July 10, 2008, and he could have hit for the cycle. He had a two-run double that keyed a four-run first inning where the Marlins batted around. He had a single that was deflected twice by shortstop Ian Desmond, who slowed the liner and tipped it in the air volleyball-style, and another double in the fourth.

Stanton probably could have made it to third on the ball that right fielder Michael Morse couldn’t hold on to.

“I should have tried to push it,” Stanton said. “It happens.”

After the home run, he added a ninth-inning single for his fifth hit.

Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez, who has managed the team two weeks longer than Stanton has played for it, believes Stanton’s just getting started.

“What he did tonight could be the start of very good things to come,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez believes the rookie, who raised his average from .239 to .259, has limitless ability.

“Nobody knows. I don’t think he even knows,” Rodriguez said. He can’t believe his young star wasn’t even old enough to celebrate with a legal drink.

“That’s the scary part. He’s only 20. He wants to get better. He doesn’t want to waste any day.”

Washington manager Jim Riggleman realizes that Stanton may be a threat — for years to come.

“We got to figure out something different against him because he is going to be in this division a long time,” Riggleman said.

It was the third straight win for the Marlins (56-56) and the 18th time this season they have reached .500.

Stanton’s first double keyed a four-run first inning where Florida batted around against Scott Olsen. The Marlins hammered Olsen (3-4), scoring seven runs and eight hits in 1 2-3 innings — his shortest start since July 8, 2007.

“I made terrible pitches. You make bad pitches, they hit ‘em. That’s what happened,” Olsen said.

Chris Volstad (6-8) got his third win against Washington this season. He was spectacular in his first two starts against Washington this season — allowing three runs in 16 innings. In his third, he gave up four runs and nine hits in five-plus innings, but it was good enough for the win.

Desmond had two home runs — his first multi-homer game — for Washington. Adam Dunn hit his league-leading 31st homer and Ivan Rodriguez had an RBI single.

NOTES: Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz said the team “fine-tuned” Stephen Strasburg’s arm exercises after he developed inflammation in the back of his right shoulder. Kuntz said Wednesday the Nationals will evaluate Strasburg regularly and “kind of tinker” with his preparation. … With his average down to .262 and no homers since July 2 — a drought of more than 100 at-bats — Washington LF Josh Willingham was out of the starting lineup Wednesday. Riggleman said Willingham has been bothered by a bad knee. Willingham doubled as a pinch-hitter. … LHP Ross Detwiler, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft, has soreness in his hip, which was operated on in spring training. Detwiler, on the DL retroactive to Aug. 6, went for an MRI, which the Nationals are having his surgeon review. “We want to be cautious with this. Right now we’re just calling it a strain,” Kuntz said. “Is it anything to be alarmed over? Not at this time.” … Marlins OF Chris Coghlan underwent surgery on his left knee Wednesday. He’ll begin rehabbing it immediately. Coghlan hurt his knee in a July 25 on-field celebration. Rodriguez isn’t counting on him to play again this season.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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