Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton continues MVP pace with 50th homer

By Alex Butler

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- More than 23,700 fans hummed "MVP" chants Sunday as Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit his Major League Baseball leading 50th homer of the season.

It's late August and those fans aren't crazy.


Stanton just became the first National League player since Prince Fielder in 2007 to hit 50 long balls in a season.

Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Andruw Jones and Ryan Howard also did it at least once from 2000 though 2006.

Stanton's most recent blast came in the eighth inning of the Marlins' 6-2 win against the San Diego Padres Sunday at Marlins Park. Stanton stepped in to face Padres lefty Clayton Richard during the at-bat. He took a called strike on a 92.3 mph two-seamer for the firs pitch before settling in. Stanton then worked the count in his favor 2-1. He sent Richard's fourth offering, an 82.4 mph slider, over the centerfield fence for a 424-foot tater. The two-run shot left the field at 110.8 mph, the fastest homer hit on Sunday, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker.


"It's a new gear for us, and one we've got to keep pushing," Stanton told reporters after the game. "We're doing good, but we can do better. We need to do better to get [where we want to go]. Just stay the course. Try to have a different hero every night, and we'll be alright."

The Marlins are now 66-63 and sit at second place in the National League East, but are still 12 games back of the Washington Nationals. Miami is 4.5 games behind for a Wild Card spot.

"It's gotta be up there with one of the best," Stanton told reporters after the game. "Career high, put us up, gave us a sweep, pretty good things all around it."

Stanton has a .402 average, 17 home runs and 34 RBI in his last 23 games.

His biggest competition for the National League's top individual prize could be Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. "Goldy" is hitting .316 with 31 home runs and 104 RBI. He also has 17 stolen bases. The five-time All-Star owns a 1.020 OPS. Stanton is hitting .296 with 50 homers and 108 RBI. He leads the league with a .670 slugging percentage, 1.059 OPS and 176 OPS+.


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