Marlins option Marcell Ozuna to Triple-A

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Following another 0-for-3 performance in Sunday’s loss to the Cubs, the Marlins optioned outfielder Marcell Ozuna to Triple-A New Orleans. Ozuna was mired in a dreadful slump, going hitless in five consecutive games and in nine of his last 10 games.

It’s still a surprising move as Ozuna was their starting center fielder and has a still-salvageable .249/.301/.337 triple-slash line with four home runs and 26 RBI. Plus, it isn’t as if the Marlins have an obvious candidate to push into the outfield in Ozuna’s absence. Fourth outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has hit worse than Ozuna.

Justin Bour has been swinging a hot bat and the struggling Marlins likely want to keep his bat in the lineup. Michael Morse was activated from the disabled list and may see time in left field rather than at first base going forward.

Video: Matt Carpenter has a six-game home run streak

Matt Carpenter
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Following his phenomenal performance on Friday, Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter found another page on which to ink his name in the history books. He hit a pair of home runs in the first and second games of the Cardinals-Cubs doubleheader on Saturday, becoming the first player to hit six homers in a single series at Wrigley Field and the 28th MLB player to ever hit a home run in six straight games.

Coming out of the All-Star break, the 32-year-old infielder extended his two-game home run streak with a solo blast off of the Cubs’ Anthony Bass during the series opener on Thursday. He followed that up with three home runs in Friday’s staggering five-run, seven-RBI performance, then teed off another solo homer against Tyler Chatwood in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. Even more remarkable: He didn’t start Game 2, but subbed in for Jose Martinez in the seventh and promptly hit one deep to center field in his first at-bat of the evening.

Entering Sunday’s game, Carpenter is riding a .277/.386/.593 batting line with an NL-best 30 doubles, 25 home runs and 163 OPS+. If he collects another home run during the club’s series finale, he’ll be the first with a seven-game home run streak since former outfielder Kevin Mench did it for the Rangers in 2006. Only three players — Mench (2006), Barry Bonds (2004) and Jim Thome (2002) — carried similar streaks, while the all-time record is currently held by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long, at eight consecutive games with a home run.