PHILADELPHIA -- The latest moonshot from Giancarlo Stanton (aka "Cruz" for Players Weekend) tore some ivy off the batter's eye in center field at Citizens Bank Park in the Marlins' 9-8 victory over the Phillies on Thursday and set a record for his hardest-hit homer of the year.The 424-foot solo
PHILADELPHIA -- The latest moonshot from Giancarlo Stanton (aka "Cruz" for Players Weekend) tore some ivy off the batter's eye in center field at Citizens Bank Park in the Marlins' 9-8 victory over the Phillies on Thursday and set a record for his hardest-hit homer of the year.
The 424-foot solo shot that put Miami ahead, 2-1, in the third, rocketed off Stanton's bat at 115.7 mph, according to Statcast™. It was the Major League home run leader's fastest exit velocity on a long ball in 2017, along with his 100th RBI of the year.
"That one today was extremely long," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "That was into the wind. If that wind's not blowing in, that thing might have hit the Holiday Inn out there."
While the blast wasn't going to travel the quarter-mile to the hotel beyond center field, the sentiment was fitting. Stanton mashes, and everyone else watches in awe. Ask the Marlin closest to the action.
"That was a loud one," outfielder Christian Yelich said. "It's fun watching him, being right behind him, getting a close-up view from the on-deck circle."
This year, Stanton's record-breaking second half has propelled him to 47 homers and a .644 slugging percentage, both career highs. The big fly was his 21st of the second half, most ever for a Marlin. His 100 RBIs are five shy of a career-high set in 2014, when he led the National League with 37 homers and a .555 slugging percentage.
Using his full-season home run rate, Stanton is on pace for just shy of 50 homers by the end of this month. But if he maintains his second-half pace, he'll eclipse 50 homers early next week and join Barry Bonds (2001), Sammy Sosa (1998, '99, '01), Mark McGwire ('98, '99) and Roger Maris (1961) as the only sluggers to reach 50 by the end of August.
More recently, Chris Davis had 47 homers by Sept. 1, 2013, and Ryan Howard crushed 49 by the end of August 2006.
The long ball was Stanton's seventh homer against the Phillies this season, his most against any opponent.
"It's a great place to hit. I'm not necessarily the most comfortable here, to be honest," Stanton admitted, due to the high-caliber pitching he faced here early in his career. "But I'm comfortable knowing you don't have to swing hard to do damage."
The 100th RBI, the 115.7 exit velocity, the 47th homer, these are not metrics that appease Stanton. He hungers for his first postseason appearance, a goal he's taken by the horns with his mammoth second-half power surge.
"I don't really care about that," Stanton said. "The team did a great job of coming back and not splitting the series. I don't care how hard it was, it put us up which was good, but that's all that matters."
Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia who covered the Marlins on Thursday.