WASHINGTON -- Although Giancarlo Stanton hit his 33rd home run of the season, he said it was his stolen base — his first since returning from knee surgery in July — he felt best about.
Stanton even joked that he would aim for the team lead in steals, which is currently held by Jose Reyes with 35.
“How many games do we have left?” said Stanton, who stole his sixth of the season in the fifth inning.
Adding the stolen base threat to Stanton’s arsenal of skills would make him even more dangerous than he is now, according to manager Ozzie Guillen.
“He did something for us today I want him to do [more], steal more bases,” Guillen said. “When you can steal bases and they want to pitch around you, they have to think about it. You might steal second, too. I want the scouts to say, ‘Be careful, because if you walk him, he can steal second base.’ Especially in very close games, I want him to use that weapon in his favor.”
Said Stanton: “Any time you can steal, it gets in the pitcher’s head a little bit. It changes games.”
Gary Sheffield’s club-record 42 home runs, set in 1996, appears safe for this season. But Stanton needs only two more homers to register the second-highest single season total in Marlins history. He and Miguel Cabrera, who hit 34 in 2007, currently share that distinction. Stanton hit 34 homers in 2011.
Guillen, who once managed Brandon McCarthy when the two were with the White Sox, said it amazes him that more pitchers aren’t injured by batted balls the same way the Oakland pitcher was last week.
McCarthy was struck in the head by a line drive on Wednesday, fracturing his skull and causing a brain contusion and epidural hemorrhage. The injury was described as “life-threatening,” but McCarthy has shown signs of improvement in recent days.
“That’s a very sad situation,” Guillen said. “To be honest with you, I’m surprised we don’t see it more often. Players are so strong now. ... They’re so close to the batting box.”
Buehrle after 200
After Buehrle completed the sixth inning on Saturday, Guillen approached the pitcher to ask how he felt.
“I’m fine,” Buehrle replied.
“You just want to get 200 innings,” Guillen said.
“You’re damn right I do,” Buehrle said, before going back out to pitch the seventh.
Every inning is important to Buehrle, who is trying to extend his run to 12 consecutive seasons of at least 200 innings. There’s not another pitcher in the majors with a longer streak. The Angels’ Dan Haren is next on the list with seven 200-inning seasons in a row.
Buehrle has thrown 180 2/3 innings this season, but has only three more starts remaining. He’ll need to average more than six innings per start to keep his streak going.
“It’s going to be tough,” Buehrle said. “Obviously, it’s a big goal of mine, and I want to get it.”
• Monday: Marlins LHP Wade LeBlanc (2-3, 2.72 ERA) at Philadelphia Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick (8-10, 3.96), 7:05 p.m., Citizens Bank Park.
• Tuesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-11, 4.44) at Philadelphia Phillies RHP Roy Halladay (9-7, 3.87), 7:05 p.m., Citizens Bank Park.
• Scouting report: The Marlins have gone 7-5 against the Phillies this season and are 62-95 all-time in Philadelphia.