The Miami Marlins pay Giancarlo Stanton a decent amount of money — though he'll obviously make a lot more in due time — to hit baseballs a long way and drive in runs. On Wednesday, though, he changed things up just a little and made his biggest impact with the glove.
At the plate, Stanton went 0 for 4 with a lone RBI on a groundout. Meanwhile, the rest of his teammates exploded offensively as Miami tallied a season-high in runs en route to a 14-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. In the field, though, Stanton was the undisputed MVP as he laid out to make an absolutely incredible diving catch in right center field that not only robbed Cody Asche of extra bases, but changed the course of the game as Philadelphia was threatening with the bases loaded.
It happened in the fifth inning with Miami clinging to a 5-3 lead. Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi was on the ropes and needed one out to escape the jam when Asche hit a liner to the gap that seemed destined to clear the bases. All three runners were off with contact and had no reason to slow up. If it touched down and rolled to the wall, Philadelphia was going to grab the lead.
But Stanton wasn't having it on this night. He appeared to get a good read and an equally solid jump on the ball, and his long strides helped him close in pretty quick. He then flagged it down with a full extension dive that made it one of the best defensive plays we've seen in MLB this season. It really was a gem, and it's even better when you factor in the situation.
''The great catch in right-center field was a game-changing play,'' Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. ''That was potentially a 6-5 lead and a whole different type of a game.''
It's a play Stanton probably doesn't make in years past due to knee issues. It's also a play the Marlins won't want him attempting very often for those same reasons. But the timing here was right and the result made it worthwhile for the Marlins on Wednesday.
Give credit to the Marlins coaching staff as well. They put a bit of a shift on for Asche and had their outfielders shaded more towards left field. Those few feet made a big difference in the play as well.
With the win, Miami moved back one game over .500 at 24-23. They're two games back of the Atlanta Braves for the first place and two games ahead of Philadelphia is a so far competitive NL East.
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