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Marlins cruise as Stanton's homer sets tone

August 14, 2017

MIAMI -- Records, they say, are meant to be broken. Giancarlo Stanton is smashing home runs at a rate he is primed to shatter a Marlins' standard that stood for 21 years.Stanton connected on a two-run home run in the first inning and had three RBIs as the Marlins cruised

MIAMI -- Records, they say, are meant to be broken. Giancarlo Stanton is smashing home runs at a rate he is primed to shatter a Marlins' standard that stood for 21 years.
Stanton connected on a two-run home run in the first inning and had three RBIs as the Marlins cruised to an 8-3 win over the Giants on Monday night at Marlins Park. With 43 home runs, the four-time All-Star passed Gary Sheffield's previous franchise mark of 42 in 1996.
"Yeah, it's something special," Stanton said. "When you're one hit or one homer away from a record, you don't want to let it linger because then every at-bat is, you're going to do it, you're going to do it. Luckily, I got it out of the way right away. It put us on top and we were able to finish."
Stanton was named National League Player of the Week on Monday afternoon, and immediately showed why he is a frontrunner for Player of the Month. His two-run shot off left-hander Ty Blach was his fifth in as many days, his 10th in 11 games, and 10th in August. Stanton also has gone deep in 22 of 34 games. Marcell Ozuna also homered off Blach in the win.

"He's in one of those streaks," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I don't know if you're ever gonna match what [Barry] Bonds did, and over the period of time that he dominated, but Stanton is on one of those streaks that very few elite power hitters have done what he's doing right now. He's seeing the ball well. It's pretty simple."
Stanton on pace for 60-HR '17
Adam Conley, who gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings, minimized damage, and improved to 5-5 on a night he didn't record a strikeout for the first time in his 48 Major League starts. The Marlins have now won four straight, while the Giants are now 1-3 on their road trip.
"It was a good game," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously, Giancarlo gets us out of the blocks quickly. It's always a good feeling, but then they take the lead right back. Really, from there, Giancarlo gets a base hit for us to add on. But we got a lot of hits from different guys. ... A lot of good things happened, where you play the type of game you like to see."
Statcast™ projected Stanton's homer to travel 382 feet with an exit speed of 95.1 mph. The irony is Stanton has blasted some of the hardest homers ever tracked by Statcast™. But his exit speed was his softest since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. His previous low was 96.1 mph at Coors Field on Aug. 7, 2016.
"We were going to try to get inside on him," Blach said. "He's been trying to get extended on a lot of pitches and been hitting the ball the other way pretty well so we try to get in, and I thought I made a pretty decent pitch. He's just a strong guy."
Runs in a Flash: Stanton provided the big power, but Dee Gordon had a hand in accounting for three runs. Gordon's two-out RBI single in the fourth inning gave the Marlins a 4-3 lead, and kept the inning alive for Stanton's run-scoring single. In his first two at-bats, Gordon also had singles, and he scored twice.

Gordon, a speed threat who has 40 stolen bases, also has been caught up in Stanton's heroics. He was just happy to get on base in front of the slugger.
"I just have to stay still so he can hit, to be honest," Gordon said of not trying to steal. "That's my job now, to stay still so we can get some pitches to hit. I go to second, they might walk him."
Big inning cut short: The Giants erased a two-run deficit and took the lead after scoring three runs in the third inning, sending nine to the plate. Denard Span had a key two-run double to tie it before Hunter Pence's go-ahead RBI single. Conley, however, was able to avoid further damage. Buster Posey was intentionally walked, and after Nick Hundley walked to load the bases, Conley retired Brandon Crawford on a ground ball to second.

"Span's hit, that was huge for us," Bochy said. "But we just couldn't hold them. They just swept Colorado, and they've been playing good."
"In that inning, there were just a string of hitters there where I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do all night," Conley said. "In hindsight, it looks like a really good night. But while I was out there, I was really battling."
"Finally, 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." -- Gordon, on Stanton embracing his home run streak
Stanton is the first Marlins player to homer in five straight games. Yet, this year in the Majors, Eric Thames of the Brewers also had a five-game homer streak from April 13-17.

The Marlins rolled the dice and challenged a play in the seventh inning that was a long-shot to be overturned. Pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki tapped a grounder to shortstop with the bases loaded. Crawford, playing in, went to the plate and Hundley tagged Derek Dietrich on the leg for the out. After 28 seconds, the call was confirmed.

Giants: Left-hander Madison Bumgarner (2-5, 2.71 ERA) looks to slow Stanton and the Marlins on Tuesday at 4:10 p.m. PT. Bumgarner is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA over his last three starts.
Marlins: Right-hander Dan Straily (7-8, 3.74) gets the start on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET in the middle game against the Giants at Marlins Park. Straily went 8 1/3 innings, giving up one run, in a win at AT&T Park on July 7.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Patrick Pinak is a reporter for based in Miami and covered the Giants on Monday.