Giancarlo Stanton saw enough of Heath Bell last year to know what to expect.
Marlins fans probably had a pretty good idea, too.
Stanton punished Bell’s shoulder-high fastball in the ninth for the go-ahead home run -- his second of the game and 100th of his career -- as the Marlins began their road trip with a 3-2 win over the first-place Diamondbacks.
“That’s what I didn’t do all of April and obviously all of May when I wasn’t playing,” said Stanton, who has been on fire since returning from the disabled list a week ago. “That’s what I need to do.”
The Marlins mustered only three hits all night -- a bloop single by Juan Pierre and Stanton’s two home runs. But they made them count. Stanton’s home run in the sixth -- a towering two-run shot into the second deck off Patrick Corbin -- tied the score.
His opposite-field shot with one out in the ninth gave them their only lead.
“I’ve heard about it and seen it on highlights,” Pierre said of Stanton’s slugging might. “But to witness it, when he gets it going like that, is pretty special, fun to watch. I’ve never seen nobody hit the ball like he hits it.”
Bell saw it first-hand during his one, disastrous season with the Marlins.
He saw it from a different angle on Monday in what was his first appearance against his former team since the Marlins traded him to Arizona.
After getting two quick strikes on Stanton, Bell wasted a slider low and away. Stanton said he figured then that Bell would come high with a fastball, and that’s exactly what happened.
“He was probably going to come fastball up,” Stanton said. “It wasn’t a bad pitch on his part. It was up and away. It wasn’t like it was right down the middle.”
But Stanton is on such a roll since coming off the DL that he’s handling mistake pitches, like the one Corbin threw to him in the sixth, and pitches that are not necessarily bad, like Bell’s fastball.
“I tried to throw him a pitch he couldn’t get to and he got to it and hit it out,” Bell said. “Giancarlo Stanton is a great hitter. He has incredible pop. Anytime he makes contact, the ball is going to go somewhere. I was trying to throw it out of the strike zone and he happened to hit it.”
Said Marlins manager Mike Redmond: “He took that thing over tonight, didn’t he? That was an impressive night for him. We didn’t get a whole lot going offensively. What did we have? Three hits? And he had two big home runs. Stanton did it tonight.”
Stanton has done extremely well out west over the course of his career, averaging one home run for every 7.3 at bats in N.L. West parks versus one homer in every 15 at bats in out-of-town N.L. East parks.
He’s now hit six home runs in 43 career at bats at Chase Field. Heck, he even drove one ball to the warning track in center on Monday that was caught for a long out.
“Crazy how baseball is, have a no-hitter through six and it turns out like this,” said Stanton, who has gone 12 for 28 with four home runs and hit safely in all seven games since coming off the DL.
Corbin was bidding to become the majors’ third 10-game winner, and for five innings, the left-hander had the target within his sights. He held the Marlins without a hit untl Pierre flared a single into left with one out in the sixth. Pierre’s bloop shot not only broke up Corbin’s no-hit bid, but also extended his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games.
One out later, Stanton blasted one into the second deck in left.
Jacob Turner made it through five innings, allowing two runs, and the bullpen did the rest for the Marlins, with Dan Jennings, Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek shutting down the Diamondbacks over the final four frames.
The Marlins have now won three of their past four games, all against first-place teams.