Should Giancarlo Stanton ever decide to name his home runs, no small undertaking given the number he’s hit, his blasts on Friday should require no hard thought.
No. 48 was a “Cruz” missile.
So was No. 49.
Stanton, wearing the name “Cruz” on the back of his uniform as part of “Players Weekend,” swatted two more homers in the Marlins’ 8-6 victory over the Padres.
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As their remarkable turnaround continues, the win put the Marlins (64-63) over the .500 mark for the first time since April 26 when they were 10-9, and kept them in the Wild Card playoff chase. They closed to within 4 1/2 games of the second Wild Card spot.
Stanton said he’s having the most fun he’s ever had as a Marlin, not because he’s homering, but because the Marlins are winning.
“Yeah, as a Marlin, I’d say it is,” Stanton said. “We’ve had this energy before, periodically. But it’s different in the sense that we’re all kind of playing their own game.”
While Stanton drove in five runs to raise his season RBI total to 105, it took a Marcell Ozuna homer in the seventh to push the Marlins past the Padres. Ozuna now has 101 RBI.
With the Marlins trailing 6-5, Ozuna connected on his 30th home run, a three-run shot off Kirby Yates in the seventh, to bail out a Miami pitch staff that is giving up runs almost as fast as the Marlins can score them.
Marlins pitchers have allowed 34 runs over the past five games, only one of which resulted in a loss.
Stanton alone has shown he’s capable of offsetting mediocre pitching, with Friday’s performance providing another example. He walloped a 462-foot homer in the first off Padres starter Travis Wood, then drilled a 395-foot opposite field shot off Wood in the third.
With the crowd of 22,489 on its feet when he stepped into the batter’s box in the third, Stanton ripped a two-run double that gave the Marlins a 5-2 lead.
Stanton is now on pace to finish with 62 home runs, or one more than Roger Maris’ long-standing record that was obliterated during the “Steroids Era.”
“It’s been incredible,” manager Don Mattingly said of Stanton’s home run binge.
But Marlins starter Adam Conley faltered in the sixth and his bullpen replacement, Dustin McGowan promptly gave up a two-run homer to Jabari Blash to put San Diego on top.
It didn’t hold up. After Dee Gordon beat out an infield single to start the seventh and Stanton walked, Ozuna came through with the deciding blow.
▪ The Marlins have gone 47-33 since May 28.
▪ Stanton has hit 23 home runs since the All-Star break.
▪ Conley gave up five runs over 5 1/3 innings and failed to receive the decision. Despite giving up a go-ahead homer in the sixth, McGowan picked up his eighth win, all in relief.
▪ Brad Ziegler, who recorded the save, has gone 9-for-9 in save opportunities since taking over the closer’s role.