Stanton hits homers 58, 59 as Marlins rout Braves
MIAMI — Giancarlo Stanton isn’t big on talking to the media. But on Thursday night, with Stanton on the precipice of history, he engaged reporters with humility and a certain reverence for the magic of baseball’s numbers.
Stanton homered twice Thursday — his major-league-leading 58th and 59th long balls of the season — leading the Miami Marlins to a 7-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park.
With three games remaining, Stanton needs one more homer to join the 60-homer club, which includes only five players in MLB history: Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.
“Those are all the guys I looked up to — some were lefties — but I modeled my swings, my home run trots, just the way the ball flies,” Stanton said of the men who have reached 60. “I was able to see a bunch of them from the stands.
“It’s crazy to be in that company. It doesn’t sink in, doesn’t make sense really. But it’s really cool. It’s everything I’ve worked for.”
Stanton, who hit a solo homer in the fourth inning and a two-run shot in the eighth, has 129 RBIs, eight more than the previous franchise record of 121 set by Preston Wilson in 2000. Stanton has also scored 121 runs, which ranks third in the majors this year.
He is the first player since 2001 to produce 30-plus doubles, 50-plus homers and 125-plus RBIs in the same season, and he has done it by remaining fairly consistent.
In Stanton’s previous game, Wednesday afternoon at the Colorado Rockies, he had gone 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. But he quickly got hot again upon returning from a six-game road trip.
“I was overanalyzing the situations,” Stanton said of his work in Colorado. “That didn’t work too good.”
Miami rookie Dillon Peters (1-2), pitching in Stanton’s giant shadow, won his first major league game, allowing just two hits and no runs in 5 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out four in his sixth major league start.
In his previous 18 2/3 innings, Peters had allowed 18 runs.
“He had been struggling with his command,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “But we’ve seen flashes of pretty good from him.”
Braves starter Julio Teheran (11-13) took the loss. Despite entering the game with a career 5-2 record at Marlins Park and a 4-1 mark this year in his past five decisions, Teheran was shaky, allowing eight hits, three walks and five runs in six innings.
Miami got to Teheran with four runs in the third inning. Dee Gordon started the uprising by pulling a triple into the right-center gap. He scored moments later when Teheran bounced a wild pitch past catcher Tyler Flowers.
The Marlins kept the rally going, loading the bases with two walks and an infield single. Justin Bour cashed in with a two-run single, and Derek Dietrich added a sacrifice fly.
Stanton’s first homer of the night, a 422-foot blast on a Teheran curve ball, gave Miami a 5-0 lead.
“I don’t think I’ve ever thrown a curve on the first pitch to him,” Teheran said of Stanton. “I never thought he was going to hit it like that ... If I knew, believe me, I wouldn’t have thrown it.
“He’s got a pretty good swing, and there’s nothing I can do. He’s really good at hitting mistakes.”
After Stanton homered in the fourth inning, Lane Adams went deep in the seventh off Drew Steckenrider, cutting the Braves’ deficit to 5-1.
Stanton’s two-run shot in the eighth off Rex Brothers closed the scoring and was more than enough for Miami (75-84).
The Braves fell to 71-88 and left Marlins Park with even more admiration for Stanton.
“He didn’t miss those two,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the Stanton homers. “He’s having a monster year.”
NOTES: Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton has hit 47 of his homers this year from the two-hole, setting a major league record. Eddie Mathews hit 46 homers from the two-hole in 1959. ... Miami’s trio of LF Marcell Ozuna, CF Christian Yelich and Stanton leads all major league outfields in OPS. ... This is Atlanta’s fourth straight losing season. ... This is Miami’s eighth consecutive losing season. ... CF Ender Inciarte has 110 home hits this season, second-most in Atlanta history behind Ralph Garr’s 121 in 1971. Inciarte was a Gold Glove winner last year and an All-Star this season. ... Marlins LHP Adam Conley has an 11.94 ERA in five starts this month, and Miami manager Don Mattingly said he is concerned with a drop in velocity to 86 mph.