WASHINGTON — Giancarlo Stanton has ended his homer-less drought.
Facing Washington Nationals starter Edwin Jackson in the top of the first inning, Stanton launched a 440-foot solo shot that landed beyond the wall in left-center field. In doing so, the Miami Marlins slugger snapped his string of three consecutive at-bats without a home run.
The last time Stanton had gone deep was all the way back on Sunday, Aug. 27, against the San Diego Padres, when he hit a two-run, eighth-inning shot off lefty Clayton Richard to break a 2-2 tie and put Miami up for good.
Stanton’s first-inning bomb Tuesday was the fourth one he has clubbed this month at Nationals Park. That’s tied with Ryan Zimmerman for the most homers hit at Nats Park this month, which is weird, given that, well, Stanton doesn’t play for the Nationals. On the year, Stanton has 51 home runs, and he is on pace to finish with 63 bombs. He has now gone yard 18 times this month, tying the major league record for most round-trippers in August, previously set by Rudy York in 1937. That’s 80 years ago, which in chronology circles is commonly referred to as a really long time.
“That’s pretty cool,” said Stanton said after the game, which, if you’re scoring at home, the Marlins lost 8-3. “Any major league record’s a pretty awesome feat. We didn’t get the win out of it, but to be able to do that’s pretty cool.”
One thing that is decidedly not cool is the red-hot Stanton, whose fireworks in the District were the continuation of a tear that has been going on for the better part of the summer. The 27-year-old outfielder now has 25 taters in 43 games since the All-Star break, which is second-most in MLB history in a player’s first 50 games after the Midsummer Classic, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The only player to hit more was Mark McGwire, who went deep 26 times in his first 50 games following the 1999 All-Star Game. Going back another week or so, since July 5, Stanton has blasted 30 home runs, which is only one fewer than the 31 homers the entire San Francisco Giants team has hit in the same time period.
Despite Stanton’s reign of terror, opposing hurlers continue to give him pitches to hit, even in situations where logic would seem to dictate otherwise. Case in point: In the top of the fifth, with the Nationals leading 3-1 and Dee Gordon on base following a leadoff single, Jackson fell behind 3-0 to Stanton. What’s more, during the at-bat, Gordon stole second and later advanced to third on a wild pitch. In other words, first base was open. Wide open. Like, more open than a 7-Eleven at high noon. And yet, instead of putting Stanton on, Jackson challenged him.
“With a guy like that who’s hot like he is right now,” Jackson said, “you definitely have to make pitches, and you can’t leave balls over the middle.” Except for when you can. Even though Jackson’s 3-0 delivery was a center-cut fastball, he got away with it, as Stanton just missed it for a 370-foot-long (and 370-foot-high) sac fly to the warning track in left center.
“We ain’t perfect,” Stanton said in explaining how his…