Giancarlo Stanton started his day at Marlins Park by getting doused by a fan with ice water to raise money for charity.
He ended it Tuesday night by receiving a celebratory shower from his teammates.
Stanton’s two-out line drive single to right field in the bottom of the 10th inning off Neftali Feliz plated Jeff Baker with the winning run and lifted the Marlins to their 11th walk-off win of the season, a 4-3 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers in front of 20,277 at Marlins Park.
It was Stanton's second walk-off hit of the season and pushed the Marlins (63-62) over .500 for the first time since they were 37-36 back on June 20. It also turned out to be sweet redemption for Stanton, who had an embarrassing slip up in right field that led to a run when the Marlins blew a two-run lead in the seventh.
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“I knew we were in extra innings because of me so I was already fired up about that,” Stanton said. “When I saw him dragging in I was like, 'You put us in this situation make sure you're calm and collected and get us out.’ I got the two strikes there and he tried to sneak a fastball away. I made a good swing, hit it deep to right field.”
The extra inning victory was Miami’s ninth of the season and marked the 21st time they’ve won in their last at-bat.
With another game against the team with the worst record in the American League still on tap Wednesday afternoon, and three scheduled against the worst team in the National League beginning this weekend in Colorado, this is prime time for the Marlins to pick up ground in the playoff race. They entered the day 3 ½ games back of the Giants for the second wild card spot.
Of course, the Marlins made beating the lowly Rangers harder than it needed to be Tuesday.
They stranded 13 base runners in all and left runners in scoring position in the first, third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Reliever Phil Klein struck out Adeiny Hechavarria to end the seventh with the bases loaded.
Shawn Tolleson then struck out Casey McGehee to swing and miss with the go-ahead run on second in the eighth. A frustrated McGehee, who finished 0-for-5 for only the second time this season, broke his bat over his right knee in frustration.
“Sometimes you just got to blow off some steam,” McGehee said.
Miami had a 3-1 lead until A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn coughed it up in the seventh. The inning started with a bang, slip and a flop.
Rougned Odor doubled high off the right field wall and then came all the way around to score when Stanton slipped and the ball got away from him in embarrassing fashion.
“If it didn't end this way I’d be a little more fired up about it,” Stanton said. “You can't do anything but laugh at that. No excuse. My upper body just wasn't working with my lower body and that means you go down.”
The Rangers followed Stanton's sixth error of the season by loading the bases and tying the score at 3 when Dunn came in and walked pinch-hitter Daniel Robertson. The pair of runs, though, were charged to Ramos, who had allowed just one earned run in 12 2/3 innings since the All-Star break before Tuesday night.
It was only the third blown save by the Marlins bullpen since the All-Star break. Miami had 15 before the break, tied for the second most in baseball.
Jarred Cosart provided the Marlins with another stellar start giving them six innings of one-run ball. He gave up six hits and two walks and finally surrendered his first run in 10 innings when Adrian Beltre doubled and later scored on a fielder's choice in the fourth.
In his three starts for the Marlins since being acquired from Houston at the trade deadline, Cosart has given up just five earned runs in 18 1/3 innings an impressive 2.45 ERA.
Rangers starter Miles Mikolas, a Jupiter native who played at Nova Southeastern in Davie, held the Marlins to a pair of Christian Yelich hits until Marcell Ozuna belted his first home run since July 27 with two outs in the fourth.
Ozuna's 17th home run of the season landed near the 427-foot sign in left center field above The Clevelander bar and tied the score at 1.
The Marlins finally forced Rangers manager Ron Washington to use the hook on Mikolas when they opened the sixth with three consecutive hits from Garrett Jones, Ozuna and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to take the lead. A sacrifice fly to deep center by Adeiny Hechavarria off reliever Roman Mendez gave the Marlins a two-run cushion.
But Ramos and the bullpen couldn't protect it.
The Rangers (48-77) left 12 runners on base and finished 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Baker reached on an error with one out in the 10th and then moved to second on Donovan Solano’s infield single. That set the stage for Stanton.
“Once you get to .500, you try to see how many games over .500 you can get,” Redmond said. “The teams that go to the playoffs, you see the record. You know where you gotta go but we can't get too far ahead ourselves. We really just need to focus in one day at a time. That was a fun one tonight, but it wasn't easy.”