WASHINGTON (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton is on a historic home run pace, and the next two days could land him among even more exclusive company.
Stanton tied a major league record with his 18th home run in August, but Anthony Rendon had four RBIs and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 8-3 on Tuesday night.
Stanton hit a long homer in the first inning, his 51st this season, to open the scoring following a 26-minute rain delay. His August output matched the mark set by Rudy York with the Detroit Tigers in 1937.
Sammy Sosa set the record for homers in a month when he hit 20 in June 1998, and Stanton has two games left this month to catch the former Cubs slugger. He will face Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday before Miami returns home to begin a series against Philadelphia on Thursday.
“That’s pretty cool,” Stanton said of matching York’s record. “Any major league record is a pretty awesome feat. We didn’t get the win, but to be able to do that is pretty cool.”
Stanton’s 51 homers in 131 games approximates the pace set by Sosa (51) and Mark McGwire (53) when they surpassed Roger Maris’ longtime record of 61 home runs in a season in 1998. Stanton added an RBI with a deep sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
The Nationals, 16-7 since Aug. 6, hold a 14-game lead over the second-place Marlins.
Rendon’s three-run double in the seventh with two outs came after Washington’s bullpen thwarted a rally earlier in the inning. The third baseman also added a run-scoring single.
Washington shortstop Trea Turner went 1 for 4 with a double and a walk in his first game since breaking his right wrist on June 29.
Nationals starter Edwin Jackson (5-3) allowed three runs — two earned — and six hits over six innings plus four batters.
Trailing 5-2 entering the seventh, Miami scored one run on Jackson’s throwing error and loaded the bases on Stanton’s intentional walk with no outs. Relievers Oliver Perez and Matt Albers ended the threat with two groundballs and a strikeout to help Jackson earn his third win in four starts.
“The game-changer was definitely the bullpen coming in and picking me up,” a relieved Jackson said.