NEW YORK -- Even a stunning defeat could not spoil the memory of Giancarlo Stanton's first Yankee Stadium curtain call, as the slugger said he'd fondly recall the circumstances surrounding his 300th home run in Thursday night's 8-7 loss to the Tigers.
Stanton became the fifth-fastest player to reach 300 homers in terms of games played when he jumped on Francisco Liriano's 3-1 pitch in the third inning, muscling a two-run homer to right field. The blast came with Aaron Hicks aboard and gave New York an early 2-1 lead.
"I was just waiting for it to get over first, then enjoy 300 right there," Stanton said. "Yeah, it was cool. A special moment for me, and it helped that it put us up in the moment in the game, too."
The milestone was reached in Stanton's 1,119th career game; only Ralph Kiner (1,087), Ryan Howard (1,093), Juan Gonzalez (1,096) and Alex Rodriguez (1,117) reached 300 homers faster than Stanton, who hit 267 homers for the Marlins before being traded to the Yanks in the offseason.
"[As a rookie], I would've thought I could do it, but you never know," Stanton said. "It's been a long road so far to get to this point. Got an even longer one ahead."
At 28 years and 295 days old, Stanton was the ninth-youngest player in Major League history to hit his 300th home run; A-Rod was the youngest, having been 27 years and 249 days old when he hit No. 300 off the Angels' Ramon Ortiz on April 2, 2003, while he was with the Rangers.
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The fans who caught Stanton's ball swapped it for a chance to meet the slugger after the game. Stanton said that he gave them some autographed memorabilia, thanking them for keeping his memento safe for a few hours, then invited them inside the Yankees' dressing area.
"They were excited," Stanton said. "They gave it back, I gave them a bat and some balls. They're enjoying [a tour of] the clubhouse."
Stanton had to endure a lengthier wait than he might have anticipated after belting No. 299 on Aug. 18 against the Blue Jays. In the 10 games that followed, Stanton hit just .158 (6-for-38) with 16 strikeouts.
That drought came to an end with a rocket that came off Stanton's bat at 110.4 mph and traveled a projected 387 feet, according to Statcast™. Loud cheers drew Stanton back to the field from the dugout, and he raised his batting helmet in his right hand to acknowledge the reception.
"It was awesome," Stanton said. "Especially for the game situation, not only for me -- it put us up, in a position to win the game. Three hundred is always going to be a huge staple for my career. When I look back and see the highlights, what happened tonight is going to be in there. Not too many nights you can go out there and say that's going to happen."