Santana's fortuitous home run popped out of Stanton's glove for the first two of Milwaukee's seven runs in a decisive second inning Saturday, as the Brewers rode the outburst to an 8-4 win over the Marlins at Miller Park. By the time that inning was over, the Brewers had sent 13 men to the plate against two Marlins pitchers.
"If I catch it the game is completely different, and we can probably have a chance to win that game," said Stanton.
The painful part was that he had it.
"Yeah, I had it," Stanton said. "Then I didn't have it. Then the fans had it."
Stanton's angst was evident on the field after he perfectly timed a leap for Santana's opposite-field fly. The baseball sailed a Statcast-projected 355 feet toward the right-field wall and found the webbing of Stanton's glove.
But it didn't settle there.
Santana's 14th home run tied the game at 2, and the Brewers kept hitting. They sent 11 more men to the plate against Tom Koehler and Vance Worley after Santana, taking a 3-2 lead when Marlins first baseman Justin Bour fielded a Zach Davies dribbler near first base and made an off-target throw home instead of taking an out.
Jonathan Villar followed with an RBI single, Travis Shaw delivered a two-out, two-run single. After Santana walked to chase Koehler from the game, Stephen Vogt greeted Worley by taking a bases-loaded walk to make it 7-2.
"It's harder playing from behind -- for sure it is," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "We had a very good inning [after the home run]. We just had good at-bats against Koehler and made him work really hard."
Said Davies: "It's a little bit of a dagger on the other team and it kind of lifts you up, too."
In the opposite dugout, the Marlins had the opposite feeling.
"It is a big hill to get back into it," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly. "Every run they score seems like a spike."
Santana was simply happy to put an 0-2 pitch in play, he said. He watched Stanton drift back and leap, and actually saw the baseball pop free and fall behind the chain-link fence for a home run. "I saw him holding his head. I was so glad," Santana said.
The Brewers have had more than their share of close calls at the outfield wall in recent weeks. On June 14 in St. Louis, Eric Thames bounced a go-ahead, ninth-inning home run over the top of the right-field wall, and the next night at Miller Park, he delivered a walk-off homer against the Padres that two outfielders had a good chance to catch.
In Cincinnati on Saturday, Reds right fielder Scott Schebler pulled back a would-be, three-run home run with a leaping catch of a Stephen Vogt fly ball. That play was on Counsell's mind after Stanton came up empty.
"I think that's the first thing I said was, 'Now we're even,'" Counsell said.
It turned into the Brewers' second-biggest inning this season, behind only their eight-run fifth vs. the Mets on May 13. And it was the Brewers' first homer of July after they matched a franchise record for any month by belting 49 home runs in June.
"It's been really good," said Santana. "It's been trusting the next guy, trying to have good at-bats, seeing pitches, taking information and sharing it. That means a lot to all of us, and especially young hitters. That's really been working out for everybody."