Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Stanton finishes just shy of 60 home runs

Getty Images Getty Images
Vera Richards | 03 October, 2017, 02:01

Discussing another disappointing season, Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill stood on the field with his back to the scoreboard, as if shunning the source of the bad news.

Stanton leads the majors with 57 home runs but has just one in his last six games.

If Thursday was any sign, it appears that Stanton may be headed for a surge in power and if pitched to could hit a few more over the final weekend of the season.

"I've been through a lot of uncertainty already", Stanton said. "I gave it my all".

Stanton didn't get No. 60 on Saturday, but one of his teammates did.

On Wednesday MLB owners unanimously approved the sale of the Marlins to a group led by Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman.

As loud chants of "M-V-P" echoed around Marlins Park, Stanton emerged from the dugout, raised his bat and pounded his chest. It was another no-doubter for Stanton, who is the first player to reach 58 home runs since Ryan Howard with the Phillies in 2006.

With 60, Stanton would become just the sixth player ever to reach that mark.

"He was on those breaking balls", Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Helped us win this game".

Kyle Freeland (11-11) gave up two runs and five hits in three innings in his first start since September 11 for the Rockies. 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's Ichiro Suzuki flied out in his last chance to tie John Vander Wal's Major League Baseball record for pinch hits in a season; Ichiro finished with 27, one shy of what Vander Wal did in 1995.

Marlins Park is certainly no launching pad, even after the fences were moved in slightly before the 2016 season. He struck out three in his shortest start of the season. The Braves have not publicly said anything about his option for 2018. Murphy had three hits and Wilmer Difo had two for the Nationals. "Whatever the organization deems the best for this organization, that's what they should do".

"He had been struggling with his command", Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Hats off to them for a big win to end their season".

For the Sunday game, the Braves will be bringing out LHP Max Fried.

This year's average, determined after Sunday's regular-season finale, was up from 3 hours, 42 seconds last year. Gordon went to the No. 9 spot, and the pitchers' spot was No. 8 in the lineup. Meanwhile, Colorado's 87 wins were its most since 2009, the last time the team went to the postseason.

Kyle Hendricks, in his final tuneup before the Cubs play the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series, worked five scoreless innings, allowing four hits while striking out nine.

Braves: Atlanta opens next season at home against Philadelphia on March 29.

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