PHOENIX -- For two days, Giancarlo Stanton entertained the crowd at Chase Field in batting practice by crushing baseballs far over the wall. On Saturday night, the All-Star right fielder made a long ball count. Stanton connected on his MLB-leading 57th home run, and drove in four runs to gain sole
PHOENIX -- For two days, Giancarlo Stanton entertained the crowd at Chase Field in batting practice by crushing baseballs far over the wall. On Saturday night, the All-Star right fielder made a long ball count.
Stanton connected on his MLB-leading 57th home run, and drove in four runs to gain sole possession of the franchise's RBI mark in the Marlins' 12-6 win over the D-backs.
No. 57 for Stanton came off Taijuan Walker in the fourth inning, and with eight games remaining he increased his chances of reaching at least 60.
'I'm locked in," Stanton said. "I'm not worried about [the attention]. I embrace it, understand it, and know the better I do, the more it's going to come. I put that as my hard work. You can't run from it, and know that it's there. Don't let it be a distraction. Have fun with it. It's a cool thing for baseball, a cool thing for a lot of reasons."
Stanton has been having fun pregame, putting on a power display in batting practice.
"Sometimes I've got to let it loose to feel comfortable," the slugger said. "A lot of times I'll shoot it to right in BP to get my feel. The past couple of days I let it loose, especially here where the ball flies. You always let it loose."
Ultimately, Stanton says it is about preparing for the game.
"Nobody cares about a 4 o'clock hitter, you can get your claps and stuff," Stanton said. "But you can get more at 7 o'clock. That's the key goal."
Stanton finished with three hits, and the four RBIs give him 125. The slugger entered the night tied with Preston Wilson, who had 121 in 2000, for the most in club history.
"Knowing Preston, this is a little different than just a name on a paper," Stanton said of Wilson, who is part of the Fox Sports Florida broadcast team. "That's definitely cool."
The Marlins' series with Arizona showcases two of the leading candidates for National League MVP honors. Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs belted a three-run homer in the third inning Saturday off Dillon Peters.
Stanton responded with a no-doubt laser, which Statcast™ projected at 419 feet with an exit speed of 116.7 mph. The launch angle was 18 degrees, making it an impressive low liner that kept traveling.
Stanton's 57 homers are the most in the Majors since Ryan Howard of the Phillies had 58 in 2006. Stanton finished a triple shy of the first cycle in Marlins history. Along with his 57 homers, Stanton has 30 doubles, but no triples, this season.
The three hits showed Stanton's immense power. The exit speeds were -- single (108.2), double (113.6) and the home run (116.7). According to Statcast™, Stanton is the fourth player this year with three hits of 108 mph or higher.
Each home run is moving Stanton into more exclusive company -- 57 in a season has been reached just 16 times.
The last two players to finish the season with 57 are Luis Gonzalez (2001) and Alex Rodriguez (2002).
Since the All-Star break, Stanton has 31 homers in 65 games, and he is gaining steam toward becoming the first Marlins player to be named NL MVP.
Stanton now has seven home runs in 22 career games at Chase Field.
"I've got time to do much more," the right fielder said. "So, just stay focused. Stay inside myself, and I should be fine."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.