The power surge reached record-breaking levels Monday.
With his first swing, Giancarlo Stanton crushed his 43rd home run of the season to break the Marlins’ single-season record held since 1996 by Gary Sheffield.
Stanton also homered for the fifth consecutive game, setting another franchise-record, and finished with three RBI to help the Marlins beat the Giants 8-3. The Marlins (57-60) moved to within three games below .500 for the first time since May 4, won their fourth in a row and have won nine of their past 11 at home.
“When you’re one hit or one homer away from a record you don’t want to let it linger,” Stanton said. “Luckily I got it out of the way right away. It put us on top and we were able to finish.”
Stanton crushed a 91-mph fastball from Giants starter Ty Blach 382 feet (according to Statcast) over the left field wall, following a leadoff single by Dee Gordon to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead in the first. Stanton joined Brewers’ first baseman Eric Thames as the only players to homer in five consecutive games this season.
The major-league record for consecutive games with a home run is eight set by Pirates’ Dale Long in 1956 and matched by current Marlins manager Don Mattingly in 1987 with the Yankees and again in 1993 by Ken Griffey, Jr. with the Mariners.
Stanton is on pace to hit 60 home runs, something that’s only been done eight times by five players in major-league history – Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Roger Maris.
No player has hit 60 or more home runs since 2001 when Bonds set the major-league record with 73 and Sosa hit 64.
“He is in one of those streaks,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I don’t think he’s ever going to match with Bonds. He did it over and over and the period of time that he dominated. Stanton is in one of those streaks very few power hitters have done what he’s doing right now. He’s seeing the ball well pretty simple, laying off some pitches. He’s hitting some pretty good pitches, too.”
Gordon said he’s never seen Stanton happier than he’s been during this historic season.
“Finally,” Gordon said. “I’ve been with him three years and he’s been [ticked] off. For him to finally have a smile on his face, have a little charisma about himself and stop being so monotone all the time, it’s pretty cool.”
Stanton hit his 10th home run in 11 games and his 22nd in the past 34 games and his 20 go-ahead home runs lead the majors.
Stanton has hit a major-league best 17 home runs since All-Star break.
Stanton said he was glad his father, Mike, was able to attend Monday night’s game after making the trip from California, and witness him breaking the record.
“He told me late last night that he was going to come,” Stanton said. “I didn’t fully put two and two together that he didn’t want to let another game go by that I might hit it.”
Ironically, Stanton’s homer was the softest he hit during the Statcast era (2015) traveling at an estimated exit velocity of 95.1 mph. His prior low was a homer he hit 96.1 mph at Coors Field on Aug. 7, 2016.
“It doesn’t need to be [hit hard],” said Stanton when asked about his atypical, yet historic home run.
Stanton said he is aware his record-setting stretch has become the talk of baseball and the sports world in general.
“I’m aware of it but you can’t look into all that and be distracted,” Stanton said. “It’s cool. It’s a nice buzz for sports, for baseball, for Miami, so it’s really cool.”
▪ Stanton has 93 RBI and is on pace for 129, which would break the Marlins’ record of 121 set by Preston Wilson in 2000.
▪ Stanton hit a ball 393 feet (11 feet longer than his first-inning home run) in the third inning. But that ball landed in the glove of Denard Span right in front of the wall.
▪ Marcell Ozuna extended his career-high with his 27th home run of the season. Ozuna led off the fifth with a 456-foot solo home run to center field off Blach. It was the first Marlins home run by someone not named Stanton in six games.
▪ Adam Conley pitched 6 1/3 innings, gave up all three of his runs in the third inning, and allowed six hits and three walks. Conley failed to strike out a batter for the first time in his career (48 starts).