History was put on hold in Giancarlo Stanton’s quest to reach 60 home runs on Sunday. Instead, it was a three-run homer by pinch-hitter Adonis Garcia and Kurt Suzuki’s two-run home run that helped propel the Braves to an 8-5 victory over the Marlins in the season finale at Marlins Park.
The main spotlight was on Stanton, who started in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career to guarantee as many at-bats as possible to assist his chances to hit his 60th home run. But Stanton ended up going 2-for-5 with an RBI single. His single in the third inning was clocked at 122.2 mph, which is the hardest base hit recorded since Statcast™ launched in 2015.
Stanton had one final chance in the ninth inning, facing closer Arodys Vizcaino. The slugger was greeted to a standing ovation and chants of “MVP!” But he struck out on four pitches, swinging through an 86.4-mph slider. On his way back to the dugout, the fans cheered loudly, and Stanton raised his right fist and put it over his heart in his curtain call.
The Marlins’ All-Star right fielder did not become the sixth player in MLB history to have at least 60 home runs, but he enhanced his National League MVP chances by finishing with the Major League lead in home runs (59) and RBIs (132).
Atlanta avoided a four-game sweep by rallying to victory in the season finale, which also marked the final game of Jeffrey Loria’s ownership in Miami. The group, headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, is expected to officially be announced early next week.
Dansby Swanson hit a go-ahead RBI single off Junichi Tazawa with two outs in the seventh inning, and Garcia blasted a three-run homer off lefty Justin Nicolino.
Marlins All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna belted a solo home run in the seventh inning, his 37th of the season. Ozuna finished with 123 RBIs. Stanton and Ozuna are the first teammates to finish among the Major League’s top three RBI leaders since 2005, when David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez did so with the Red Sox.
The Braves jumped in front in the third inning on Suzuki’s two-run homer, his 19th of the season.