As Mike Oz pointed out a few days ago, the Miami Marlins played much better in June — almost as good as anyone — and they're still breaking hearts other than those of their own fans in July.
They won a series from the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, taking two of three at Turner Field by coming back from three runs down in the rubber match for a 4-3 victory. Aside from the go-ahead hit by Donovan Solano in the ninth that ruined Craig Kimbrel's night, the biggest contribution was made by slugger Giancarlo Stanton. And it had nothing to do with his prowess at the plate, as he went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.
It was Stanton's defense, and not even his reputable throwing arm, that saved the day with an amazing catch in the gap on Dan Uggla's deep drive in the bottom of the ninth. If it gets down, the Braves probably tie the score and perhaps do worse against closer Steve Cishek — but Stanton didn't let it happen, completing a long run and a lunging dive with a smooth catch. It looks like the hamstrings on his 6-foot-6, 240 pound frame are OK, too. All that Uggla could do was glare at him (and Uggla seems to be hitting the ball better, too, since getting his eyes checked).
Via the Associated Press, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said he never had a doubt Stanton would get there:
''That was one of the best catches I've ever seen,'' Redmond said, before adding with a laugh: ''I knew he had it all the way.''
Cishek stood on the mound, watching the line drive head toward the gap, and just hoped for a miracle from Stanton.
''I saw he got a pretty good jump on it,'' Cishek said. ''It was like slow motion, and I was wishful thinking, 'Reach for that thing, big fella.' I got fired up.''
Cishek struck out B.J. Upton to end the game, stranding Freddie Freeman at first base.
So there you have it: Don't expect the Marlins to roll over for you anymore, and don't think you've got Giancarlo Stanton where you want him just because he's not in the batter's box.