Stanton ecstatic after tying Griffey's HR record: 'One of my favorite players'

The Associated Press
Jasen Vinlove / USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI (AP) Home runs before small crowds in the eighth inning of lopsided games between also-rans count, too, which is fortunate for Giancarlo Stanton.

Now he needs only five more for 61.

Stanton hit his major league-leading 56th homer in the eighth Wednesday to punctuate the Miami Marlins' 9-2 win over the New York Mets, which completed a three-game sweep.

Announced attendance was 16,033, but the actual turnout was perhaps one-third that total. The Marlins are destined to miss the playoffs for the 14th year in a row despite Stanton's homer show.

''It's fun to watch, no doubt about it,'' manager Don Mattingly said. ''You'd like it to be happening when you were chasing somebody or leading somebody and it was a pennant-race situation, and the place was starting to fill up with some people where every game matters.

''That's what you'd like. It would be more fun to watch. But that's a lot of homers.''

Only 10 players have hit more homers in a season. Stanton's total matches the career high of Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.

''That's some good company,'' Stanton said. ''I'm getting up there with some great company. That's a good one. He was one of my favorite players.''

Stanton drove in three runs, increasing his RBI total to a career-best 120 while trying not to focus on such eye-popping stats.

''I've get 10 games left,'' he said. ''The season's not over. Once you get to the end of the season, you look back. But I don't go each day, `Hey, I've got this or that.'''

However, Stanton has acknowledged his goal to match Roger Maris' 1961 total of 61 homers, the most in the pre-steroids era.

Miami led 5-2 before A.J. Ellis and Miguel Rojas hit back-to-back homers off Mets reliever Erik Goeddel to start the eighth. With one out, Stanton lined a 1-1 breaking pitch from Goeddel over the left field fence for a two-run homer.

As usual, he knew it was gone when he connected.

''That one had a motor on it,'' Stanton said.

Stanton made a fine catch, too, against the right field fence to rob Asdrubal Cabrera.

The Marlins slugger emerged this week from a 10-for-69 slump, regaining his patience at the plate. He drew a season-high four walks Tuesday and took that as a good sign.

''The walk is OK,'' he said. ''You get your timing on those pitches still. It's just being smarter and getting pitches out over the plate consistently. Just stick to my plan, and don't worry about theirs.''

Stanton's homer overshadowed a strong outing by Jose Urena (14-6), who allowed two runs in eight innings. The Marlins finished the season 12-7 against the Mets and swept their NL East rivals for the first time since May 2014.

Justin Bour hit a two-run homer, his 23rd. Marcell Ozuna had a pair of two-out run-scoring singles, increasing his RBI total to 115.

Brandon Nimmo hit his fourth homer for the Mets. Pinch-hitter Travis d'Arnaud had an RBI single.

Rafael Montero (5-11) allowed five runs in four innings. He leads the Mets in losses.