Mike Trout watched Giancarlo Stanton slug 61 bombs on his way to the Home Run Derby title at last summer’s All-Star Game in San Diego.
On Friday night, the American League’s two-time MVP didn’t have to wait long to see one fly over his head in his first game at Marlins Park.
Stanton crushed a two-run bomb off Angels right-hander Jesse Chavez in the first inning to center field, which flew an estimated 460 feet and bounced off the batter’s eye, leaving a dent in it.
The blast was Stanton’s second-longest this season, according to MLB Statcast (he hit a 468-foot shot on May 7), and the tone-setter in Miami’s 8-5 victory.
“Whether it’s the two-hole, three-hole or four-hole, he’s a force,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Stanton, who homered for the first time since May 8 and the first time in the No. 2 hole, where he’s been batting since Tuesday.
“If [Dee] Gordon’s going to get on base, [Stanton] is going to have a lot of opportunities to swing the bat.”
Stanton’s 12th homer of the season — and the 10th in the past three seasons to travel at least 460 feet — fueled a four-run first inning for the Marlins, who tacked on another run in the second on a bases-loaded walk and picked up a big three-run home run from Justin Bour in the sixth to turn a 5-3 lead into a pivotal five-run cushion.
Marlins starter Dan Straily scattered six hits, struck out six and walked two over 5 1/3 innings to improve to 3-3 on the season. He’s the first Marlins pitcher to hit the three-win mark this season.
Miami (17-29) has won three of its past five games after dropping 10 of its previous 11 games.
“The way we’ve been playing ball the last few days has really kind of shifted,” Straily said. “To get up there and get all the hits and runs and get the result of a win at the end of the day is very good.”
Stanton, Gordon and Christian Yelich all had three hits. The Marlins clubbed 14 in all. None was longer than Stanton’s, who remains baseball’s distance king far and away.
He’s clubbed 25 career homers of at least 460 feet, 11 more than the next-closest team’s total (the Colorado Rockies) since he entered the majors in 2010, according to ESPN Stats & Info. The next three players on the list — Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Upton and Nelson Cruz — each have six.
“It’s just a treat — that’s just the best way to put it,” Bour said of Stanton’s bombs. “If he had aimed it a little bit further to the right he probably would have hit that Monster sign and won a Bentley. He’s got to work on that.”
Said Stanton: “I need to get that damn Bentley.”
The Marlins, though, wouldn’t have won without Bour’s homer. He came to the plate only after the Angels opted to intentionally walk Marcell Ozuna with a runner on second. After fouling off a pitch that bounced high off the wall and just to the right of the foul pole, Bour crushed his MLB-leading ninth homer in the month of May. He’s now homered in nine of his past 14 games.
“For me, it’s just a little frustrating when Ozuna gets intentionally walked there,” said Bour, who blasted the homer off Angels left-hander Jose Alvarez, the fourth lefty he’s homered off this season.
“I take it as like I want him to be swinging, get a chance to hit, and I want to make the most out of that opportunity so it doesn’t happen.”
The Angels, playing in South Florida for the first time since 2011, have dropped three in a row.
In addition to being Trout’s first game in South Florida, Friday’s game was the second in the majors this season to be streamed live on Facebook.
Trout, who finished 0 for 3 with a pair of walks, walked and scored to put L.A. (25-26) ahead 1-0 in the first when Luis Valbuena doubled off the glove of Ozuna, who was trying to make a tough catch against the wall in left-center field.
But the Marlins quickly responded.
Gordon singled hard to right. Stanton homered on a 3-2 pitch. Yelich doubled to right, advanced to third on an error and scored when he beat a throw to the plate on an Ozuna grounder to shortstop.
Two batters later, J.T. Realmuto slugged his fourth home run of the season, a 368-foot solo shot to right field moments after Ozuna was caught stealing second.
That was enough for Straily, who was lifted when he gave up a two-run home run to Martin Maldonado on a 1-2 pitch in the sixth.
David Phelps, who returned from the bereavement list on Friday, pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Straily.
But the Angels brought the tying run to the on-deck circle in the ninth, when they scored a pair of runs off Kyle Barraclough.
Closer A.J. Ramos came in and picked up his fifth save of the season on one pitch when he got Trout to end the game with a fly out to the warning track in center field.