Marlins' Stanton hits 50th homer of season

AP
Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton hits his 50th home run of the season, becoming the 28th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the milestone in a single campaign.
AP
AFP

Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins hits his 50th home run of the season in the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, on August 27, 2017. The Marlins won 6-2.

Roused from its apathy for baseball, South Florida let out a long roar on Sunday for Giancarlo Stanton, who responded with a wave from the top step of the dugout, affording the crowd a good look at the sport's newest 50-homer man.

Stanton reached the round number with a tiebreaking drive in the eighth inning, helping the surprising Miami Marlins sweep the San Diego Padres with a 6-2 victory.

Baseball fever broke out at Marlins Park, where Stanton earned a curtain call for the first time since the place opened in 2012.

"For here, that's about as lively as they've been," he said.

The crowd of 23,725 was typical for the attendance-challenged Marlins, but fans went wild when Stanton became the first National League player to reach 50 homers since Prince Fielder hit 50 for Milwaukee in 2007 and the 28th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the milestone in a single campaign.

With the score 2-all, Dee Gordon singled to lead off the eighth. Stanton then drove a 2-1 slider from Clayton Richard (6-13) into the hedge in center field.

Fans roared as Stanton celebrated with teammates after returning to the dugout, and the curtain call prompted chants of "M-V-P! M-V-P!"

"He deserves it," Gordon said. "I don't know who else deserves it more."

"We're a bit early," Stanton said with a chuckle, "but it's cool that they're showing love like that. I really appreciate it."

Stanton also walked, doubled home a run and singled, going 3 for 3 to hike his average to .296. He increased his RBI total to 108, a career high.

His 17th homer in August tied him for the second-most in major league history in the month, behind Rudy York's 18 in 1937.

"He's as locked in as anybody I've ever seen," Padres manager Andy Green said.

The cheering didn't end with Stanton. After his tiebreaking drive, Christian Yelich hit his first triple of the year and continued home on a throwing error, further raising the decibel level.

"A Little League homer," Yelich said. "This place came unglued. It was probably the loudest I've ever heard a Marlins game, which is nice."

That ended Richard's outing. Derek Dietrich then homered off Carter Capps.

The Marlins' three-game sweep and fourth consecutive victory overall gave them 13 wins in the past 16 games. They swept a series from the Padres for the first time since 2012.

Miami remained 4 1/2 games behind Colorado in the race for the final NL wildcard. The Marlins started the season 14-27 and haven't been to the playoffs since 2003, the longest drought in the league.

"It's a new gear for us, and one we've got to keep pushing," Stanton said. "We're doing good, but we can do better, and we need to do better to get there."

Stanton appreciates the sport's history, but said he had never heard of York.

"Thinking about all that, the numbers and catching up with this guy and that guy, it's a distraction," he said. "You can't be reading all this. I've got to stay focused and be prepared every at-bat. If I'm thinking about my pace and 'I didn't hit one yesterday,' it ain't going to work."

Stanton is the sixth major leaguer to hit his 50th home run before the end of August, joining Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Luis Gonzalez and Roger Maris, AFP reports.

Bonds, whose feats have been clouded by his links to performance enhancing drugs, holds the single-season record of 73, set in 2001.

With 10 more homers Stanton would become just the sixth player in major league history to reach 60 in a season.

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