The ball left Giancarlo Stanton’s bat at 117.4 mph, traveled 484 feet, and if not for the 60-foot-tall and 40-foot-wide glass panels behind the Budweiser Bowtie Bar probably would have kept bouncing down the street in Little Havana.
Baseball’s biggest home run basher launched another moonshot Tuesday night, devouring a first-inning slider left over the heart of the plate by Cardinals 23-year-old ace Carlos Martinez. It tied the longest home run Stanton has ever hit at Marlins Park, and was the second-longest of his career (he hit a 494-footer at Coors Field on Aug. 17, 2012).
But like 12 of the other 23 games Stanton has homered in this season, the Marlins couldn’t find a way to win. St. Louis rallied from a 3-0 deficit with a three-run fourth inning against rookie Jose Urena and then scored the winning run off Sam Dyson in the seventh, beating the Marlins 4-3 in front of 21,759 fans at Marlins Park.
“They’re not in first place by luck,” Stanton said of the Cardinals, who own baseball’s best record at 46-24. “You’ve not going to beat those teams if you don’t execute.”
Outside of Stanton’s two-run home run in the first and Adeiny Hechavarri’s run-scoring single in the second, Miami did nothing with its opportunities. The Marlins, who came into Tuesday’s game 25th out of 30 teams in batting average (.237) with runners in scoring position, finished 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and failed to score despite putting the leadoff hitter on base in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Dee Gordon opened the fifth with a double to left, and after new No. 2 hitter J.T Realmuto grounded out to short, Christian Yelich struck out and the Cardinals walked Stanton intentionally. It paid off for St. Louis when Derek Dietrich struck out swinging to end the frame.
Then in the eighth, after a Marcell Ozuna two-out single to center put runners on the corners, reliever Kevin Siegrist struck out Justin Bour swinging. Trevor Rosenthal then picked up his 22nd save in the ninth.
“When you play a team like the Cardinals there’s a reason they have the record they have,” manager Dan Jennings said. “When you have leadoff guys on you have to be able to get them over and get them in.”
Martinez, who came in having allowed two or fewer runs in each of his previous six starts and leading major-league baseball with an ERA of 0.89 since May 20, pitched seven innings Tuesday night, scattering eight hits and striking out nine with only one walk to improve to 8-3.
Urena, meanwhile, who had gone at least six innings in his previous four starts, lasted only five innings Tuesday. He walked three, gave up six hits and unraveled in the fourth.
First, Jason Heyward drilled a solo home run into the upper deck in right field. Then, three batters later, after a mound visit by pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, Xavier Scruggs jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Urena and drilled it down the left-field line, plating the tying runs with a double.
“I threw him a fastball outside but it caught too much of the plate and he put a good swing on it,” Urena said. “My control wasn’t there. A couple pitches I was trying to go away caught more of the zone. That’s what happened with the home run. Sometimes you make those mistakes and you pay for them.”
The Cardinals then took the lead in the seventh when, with two outs, Mark Reynolds sent a hard grounder to the mound that bounced off Dyson and just far away enough from Hechavarria to plate Scruggs with the go-ahead run.
Blowing a three-run lead to baseball’s best team wasn’t the way the Marlins (30-42) wanted to open what could be a season-defining, nine-game home stand. After the Cardinals play three here, the two best teams in the National League West visit next: the Los Angeles Dodgers will be here this weekend and reigning World Series champion San Francisco visits June 30 to July 2.
For Marlins fans at least, there’s still the Stanton bomb to savor. His tape-measure shot, which he matched earlier this season with a 484-foot blast at Coors Field off Rockies starter Eddie Butler, was his seventh this season of 450 feet or more.
The only other players with multiple homers of 450 feet or more this season according to hitrackeronline.com are Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson (4), Cubs rookie Kris Bryant (2) and Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (2).
Said Jennings of Stanton’s bomb: “Just glad we’re wearing the same hat.”
Giancarlo Stanton is one home run shy of his own club record for most in a month — with six games still remaining:
Six tied at 10