SAN FRANCISCO -- Before Jose Reyes gets his running game going, the Marlins shortstop first acknowledges that he has to hit. But once his average starts rising, look for the All-Star to be in motion more.
"No doubt," Reyes said on Wednesday. "If I get on base, I'm going to run for sure."
Reyes has five stolen bases in eight chances this season. He says he hasn't taken off more because of his struggles at the plate. When you're batting .224 with a .302 on-base percentage, there are limited chances to run.
The Marlins saw on Tuesday night the importance of the running game. In their 2-1 win over the Giants, Reyes swiped second and moved to third in the fourth inning of a scoreless game. He scored the first run on Hanley Ramirez's RBI single through a drawn-in infield.
"We're not hitting that many home runs," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We're struggling at the plate. We have to figure out how to score."
The Marlins constructed their roster to take advantage of speed. Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and Ramirez are threats to run.
On Tuesday night, all three stole a base.
Guillen noted that in a recent win over Arizona at Marlins Park, the game-winning run was set up on a hit-and-run by Bonifacio.
As the leadoff hitter, Reyes takes it upon himself to get the offense going.
"If I get on, that's what I'm going to try to do, steal and put myself in scoring position," he said. "It is important, because when you have a leadoff guy who gets on a lot, and he's stealing bases, that means you are trying to score, no matter how."
Stanton starting to heat up at the plate
SAN FRANCISCO -- Maybe May is the month where Giancarlo Stanton starts to heat up. It has happened in the past, and he had a good game on Tuesday night.
Stanton lined a home run just over the wall down the left-field line off of Matt Cain on Tuesday that proved to be the decisive run in the Marlins' 2-1 win over the Giants at AT&T Park.
It was his second homer of the season and came on May 1.
The 22-year-old slugger certainly had his share of loud outs in April. A number of long drives he hit, especially to center field at spacious Marlins Park, turned into 400-foot outs. He also didn't have much luck going to left field.
One of the strongest players in the game, Stanton has done his best not to stress about a low home run total.
"You're going to go further backwards, if you start doing that," Stanton said.
Looking forward, Stanton has a track record of producing in the second month of the season. In 2011, he belted nine home runs and drove in 20 runs in May. It was his most productive power month in a year he finished with 34 homers.
In a number of ways, Stanton's 2012 has mirrored 2011.
In both years, the slugger missed substantial time in Spring Training due to injury. He was hampered by a sore left knee this season.
Without much time to prepare, Stanton had two homers and nine RBIs while batting .235 last April. Those numbers are close to the one home run, nine RBIs and .247 average this April.
Stanton is focused on swinging at strikes and not chasing so many pitches. If he stays disciplined in his approach, the home runs should come naturally.
"If you start trying to hit homers on every at-bat, you're going to start pulling off and making it worse," Stanton said. "It's taking a while this year, but you've still got to stay up the middle and keep [aiming] for the gaps, and they will come. Stressing about it, you're going to go backwards."
Bell, bullpen provide big confidence boost
SAN FRANCISCO -- A clean, 12-pitch, scoreless ninth came as a welcome relief for Marlins closer Heath Bell.
The veteran right-hander, who had a rough April, picked up a big save on Tuesday in Miami's 2-1 win over the Giants.
Bell collected his third save in six opportunities, and he bounced back after a couple of rough outings. He had allowed four runs in his previous two appearances, which included a blown save at the Mets on April 26. He gave up two runs in the ninth inning of that game.
And on April 30, Bell allowed two runs in the ninth in a non-save opportunity against the D-backs.
Retiring the Giants in order, the Marlins hope, will be what was needed to get Bell on track.
"The way the win came along, it was outstanding for a few players, especially Heath Bell," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He got this out of the way. It created confidence. That creates confidence from us too, the ballclub."
After dropping eight of nine, the Marlins hadn't had much to cheer about. They were energized on Tuesday, partly because the relievers sat in the dugout.
The way AT&T Park is built, there aren't enclosed bullpens. Relievers warm up in foul territory down the first and third-base lines.
At Marlins Park, the Miami bullpen is beyond the left-field wall.
"They were into the game. They were having fun," Guillen said of the bench. "There was a lot of enthusiasm. There was a lot of screaming. I think it had a lot to do with the guys in the bullpen being in the dugout."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.