MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton (aka "Cruz") gave the ball a ride on Sunday afternoon, and then accommodated the cheering crowd with a well-deserved curtain call.
Stanton snapped a tie by blistering a two-run home run off Clayton Richard in the eighth inning of the Marlins' 6-2 win over the Padres for his 50th of the season.
After his dramatic home run gave the Marlins a two-run lead, the crowd went into a frenzy. The four-time All-Star right fielder tipped his helmet to the crowd that was chanting: "MVP! MVP! MVP!"
"That's pretty cool," Stanton said. "It's a bit early [for MVP talk]. It's cool that they're showing up like that. I really appreciate it."
Stanton is the first MLB player to reach 50 homers since Chris Davis of the Orioles had 53 in 2013, and he's the first National League player to get to the milestone since Prince Fielder of the Brewers, who had 50 in '07. Statcast™ projected the home run at 112.2 mph and 425 feet.
"I've never seen anybody, in person, as he is right now," said Miami center fielder Christian Yelich. "It's fun to watch. You feel everything he hits is an absolute rocket. If it gets in the air, it's a homer."
The string of benchmarks, however, don't stop there.
According to ESPN's Stats and Info, Stanton is the sixth player to have 50 home runs before the end of August. The exclusive list includes Sammy Sosa (three times) and Mark McGwire (twice). Barry Bonds, Luis Gonzalez and Roger Maris each did it once. Stanton's on pace to hit 63 homers this season.
Now with 17 home runs in August, Stanton matches Sosa (2001) and Willie Mays (1965) for the NL high for this month. The MLB record is 18, set by Rudy York in 1937.
For the series, Stanton went 8-for-10 with three home runs and eight RBIs. On Sunday, he went 3-for-3 with a walk, a double and three runs batted in.
Dee Gordon (aka "Varis Strange") singled to set up Stanton's homer that rocked South Florida.
"It was crazy," Gordon said. "They were loud. I like that. It was good for these boys to see that, and good for us to keep playing meaningful baseball."
Gordon's ability to reach has put teams in a tough spot, because it makes it more difficult to pitch around the slugger.
"Dee is the key to that," manager Don Mattingly said. "Dee getting on base changes things. You have to pay a little bit of attention to him. G's been able to take advantage of that."
Stanton's season slash line is .296/.389/.670 with 50 home runs and 108 RBIs. He's already reached personal highs for homers and RBIs in a season.
The fact that his 50th homer put the Marlins in front -- and with the team chipping away in the National League Wild Card race -- Stanton called Sunday's smash the biggest of his career.
"It's got to be up there with the best," Stanton said. "My career-high. It put us up. Gave us a sweep. Some pretty good things all around it."
Now 66-63, the Marlins are 4 1/2 games behind the Rockies for the second spot in the Wild Card chase.
Support at Marlins Park is starting to rise.
"For here, that's about as lively as they've ever been," Stanton said. "In 2012, opening of the new stadium, it was up there. In terms of understanding what we're doing, and what we have a chance to do, it's up there."