SAN FRANCISCO The Marlins had belted 101 home runs this season going into Sunday’s first-half finale against the San Francisco Giants. It was already the third-most in franchise history for a first half.
Two Marlins — right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and first baseman Justin Bour — are participating in the Home Run Derby on Monday night. Three — Stanton, Bour and Marcell Ozuna — have 20 or more home runs apiece.
While Stanton, for his part, hit two homers in Miami’s 10-8, 11-inning victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday — his 23rd career multi-home run game — the biggest blow came from backup catcher A.J. Ellis.
“As a backup catcher, you don’t get that many opportunities,” said Ellis, the owner of 38 career home runs in 10 seasons and none in 2017 before Sunday.
After falling behind 0-2 with two outs in the 11th inning, with the game tied 7-7, Ellis came up with his first career pinch-hit home run, a two-run squeaker to left to drive in J.T. Realmuto, who reached on a Brandon Crawford throwing error.
“I’ve always said that this is my favorite park to play in, in all of baseball,” Ellis said.
Asked if he believed in the theory that this year’s baseballs are juiced, Ellis said: “Maybe I’m more of a believer now than I was 45 minutes ago. … I was able to squeeze one out, then [Stanton] was able to show me how to really hit one.”
Two batters later, Stanton hit his second homer of the game and third of the series, following a fifth-inning shot to center, estimated at 443 feet.
“When he hits them, you know they’re going to go,” manager Don Mattingly said. “I enjoy the laser-liners.”
Stanton’s 26 home runs are the third-most by a Marlins player before the All-Star break. He also holds the No. 2 spot on the list with 27 in 2013. Mike Lowell has the most with 28 in 2003.
After the Giants built an early 2-0 lead, Christian Yelich and Ozuna rattled off back-to-back RBI doubles in the top of the third.
Ozuna’s two-bagger gave him 16 RBI over the course of Miami’s 10-game trip, the most ever by a Marlins hitter on a trip of 10 games or more.
Stanton’s home run in the fifth was countered by an opposite-field shot by Nick Hundley to right — his fourth home run of the year — in the bottom of the frame.
A four-run seventh keyed by a bases-loaded, opposite-field single by Bour gave the Marlins a 7-3 lead, but the Giants chipped away.
In the bottom of the seventh, Denard Span drove in a run with a double off Stanton’s mitt in right center, and in the eighth Marlins reliever and Bay Area native Kyle Barraclough — who got the hold on Saturday — recorded just one out, allowing three runs on five singles as the Giants tied the game at 7-7.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Marlins infielder Miguel Rojas began a rehab assignment on Saturday. Mattingly said the assignment would last “at least” five to seven games.
“We’ve got to kind of get him in baseball shape,” Mattingly said. “The more he can play down there, the better chance it is that he can be productive when he comes back … We just know we want him to play a number of games, and it wasn’t four or five. He’s been out a long time, and he’s going to need those games.”
Mattingly said that ideally Rojas, who was hitting .338 before a fractured thumb sent him to the disabled list on May 9, would be ready to back up JT Riddle when he returns.
▪ After Marlins rookie Chris O’Grady earned a victory in his first big-league start on Saturday, Mattingly said he would be the No. 5 starter coming out of the All-Star break. Tom Koehler will also be a part of the rotation moving forward.
▪ The Marlins lost 13 of 17 games from May 8-27 but closed the first half on a 24-16 run, sweeping the Giants for the first time in a three-game series since 2015.
“The next starting pitcher is going to set the tone for the second half,” Mattingly said. “It’s definitely how we talked about wanting to finish.”
The Marlins will host the Dodgers in a weekend series starting Friday night to begin the second half.