It has become a daily occurrence, something to be expected.
delivered again Saturday, launching his 41st homer run 463 feet into the servers’ area of the Budweiser Bar beyond left field Saturday at Park.
The three-run homer was Stanton’s eighth in nine games and left him one away from Gary Sheffield club record for a season.
Told that the bartender got the ball, Stanton smiled and said, “He should have given me a shot, then.”
Stanton’s shot provided the impetus for a series-clinching 4-3 win against the . would have gladly bought the round for Stanton for the help in earning his first win as a starter since May 3, 2016 ().
“It’s one of those things [that] every time he comes up to bat it’s a game-changer,” Nicolino said. “To pick me up right there it kind of takes a little bit off my shoulders.”
Stanton has been doing that often. It was the 19th time he has given the Marlins a lead with a homer, a club record.
“En fuego. Hot,” Marlins manager said. “It just seems like every day you almost count on him hitting one. They’re leaving some stuff there to hit and he’s not missing it.”
Stanton’s latest moon shot made it 4-1 in the fourth and continued his ridiculous pace with 20 homers in his past 32 games. On Friday he reached 40 homers in the Marlins’ 114th game, the third-fastest to do so in the 16 seasons since 2001 when Barry Bonds set the single-season homer record.
Stanton agreed that it is the best power surge of his career.
“Yeah. Just consistent, daily. I’ve had stretches where it was similar to this, but a week and a half or so or two weeks,” he said. “Just to keep it going all parks, home, away, all pitches. Just got to keep it going.”
Making his first start in the majors since June 24, Nicolino held a high-octane Rockies lineup to two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings.
On the road from prospect to suspect, Nicolino has reached the crossroads for finding an identity with the Miami Marlins or falling by the wayside.
“I think the true thing for Nico is really to know who he is as a pitcher,” Mattingly said this weekend when Nicolino was summoned from the minors yet again to try to etch his name in the starting rotation with something more enduring than chalk.
“What kind of pitcher is he going to have to be to be effective? I’m not sure we know exactly what that will be.”
Nicolino, who needs to be crafty in lieu of overpowering velocity, has struggled for the answer through three seasons of bouncing between Miami and the minors.
Saturday was his best effort in a while.
“Fastball command was the biggest thing. If I’m locating, moving in and out with the fastball, my stuff plays a lot better,” Nicolino said, adding, “Just mixing up pitches, using my curveball a lot more, utilizing the changeup when we needed to and making competitive pitches.”
His main deficiency was being unable to get out, a task others have struggled with this season.
The ’s second-leading hitter singled all three first three times up off Nicolino and scored twice. Both runs were set up by stolen bases. An error by J.T. Realmuto on the throw in the fifth sent Blackmon to third, and he scored an unearned run on a sacrifice fly.
The Marlins unexpectedly found themselves up against their former manager, Mike Redmond, the Rockies bench coach who filled in with manager feeling ill. Redmond was in the opposite dugout when Nicolino won his major league debut in 2015 with seven shutout innings at Cincinnati.
Nicolino got through a shaky first inning on two hits, including Jonathon Lucroy’s two-out RBI single, and all three outs on balls solidly hit to the outfield.
The Marlins got the run back on their half of the inning, sparked by another resounding hit by Stanton that went for a double. He scored on ’s goundout.
Nicolino received backing of double plays started by shortstop Miguel Rojas in the second and third innings, the latter an artful stab behind second base and flip to Dee Gordon, who took it barehanded and completed the quick turn.
A two-out walk and ground-rule double by turned a routine inning into a bind. Opposing pitcher Hoffman’s turn in the order provided the escape hatch.
Mostly solid work by the bullpen over the final 3 2/3 innings made the efforts of Stanton and Nicolino hold up. left two runners on in the ninth to record his second save of the series and fourth in four attempts since taking over as closer since A.J. Ramos was traded.
Workhorse stranded two runners left by Nicolino in the sixth. Drew Stecknrider struck out two in the seventh, including , who was ejected after slamming his bat down and dashing to first in dispute of umpire Pat Hoberg ruling that he went around on an attempt to check his swing.
The Rockies benefited in the bottom of the inning when Hoberg called Ozuna out when he was tagged after making a slight move toward second after being safe on a wild throw.
Righty Brian Ellington gave up a run in an erratic eighth that included a walk, wild pitch, hit batter and a passed ball.
“That was a huge home run today,” Mattingly said. “To be able to do that and give us that cushion. We weren’t able to add on [to the lead], but we were able to hold on.”
Stanton ended up a triple short of hitting for the cycle. He said he was thinking about it when he came up in the sixth, but he struck out against Chris Rusin.
Asked when he would do if he had to try to get Stanton out, Nicolino said, “Luckly, I don’t have to, so I don’t know. Right now with what he’s doing, everything that he’s hitting – the double to right-center, hit fastball down and away, the home run – he’s locked in right now.”
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