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On the day he announced he'd participate in the Derby, Giancarlo Stanton hit a laser beam of a HR

If you've stepped into a movie theater at the height of blockbuster season, you know the standard dramatic structure well by now. Giancarlo Stanton condensed all of those bloated two-hour movies into one at-bat in the seventh inning of Sunday's 4-2 victory against the Cubs. 
It all began when he stepped to the plate. This would be his challenge. Could he best Cubs reliever Pedro Strop? Things looked dire, as Stanton waved helplessly at a slider way off the plate for strike one. 

Stanton stepped back. He yelled at himself -- using words that he likely wouldn't if his grandmother was nearby. This was his moment of darkness, the one he must raise himself from. But this time, we wouldn't need a training montage to get it. 
Chastened and focused, Stanton stepped back in. Here was redemption in the form of a fastball that caught far too much of the plate and a swing that sent it flying over the left-field fence. 

It was Stanton's seventh homer of the season hit at 20 degrees or lower, good for best in the league.
The challenge surpassed, Stanton could return to the dugout and look back at the trials he had just bested: 

After the game, Martín Prado told MLB.com's Patrick Pinak why he made sure to be the first person to give Stanton a high-five when he got back to the dugout. 
"Because at that point, you're playing against a really good team," Prado said. "You cannot just get too comfortable when you're playing against teams that just had success like the Cubs. Hitting that homer in that situation is huge. It's a relief for the pitchers and you get that boost of confidence to go out there and play defense for whoever's pitching."
That's right -- Stanton's at-bat may have ended, but it was merely part of a larger connected universe of the whole ballgame.
Hours after the game, the slugger announced he'd be defending his crown in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at his home ballpark. Look out, weird-but-fun Marlins Park home run sculpture.

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