Stanton sets career high with 38th homer

Outfielder is just four home runs shy of Marlins' single-season record

Stanton sets career high with 38th homer

WASHINGTON -- Giancarlo Stanton entered the Marlins' series vs. the Nationals on a power surge, and Washington has had no answer for stopping it.

A day after tying his career-high home run total for a season, Giancarlo Stanton broke his own record with his 38th homer in Tuesday night's 7-3 win over the Nationals. It was the outfielder's fifth home run in the past five games.

"You get used to it now," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "You get one a day for sure, and then you hope for another one."

The three-run knock off Nationals right-hander A.J. Cole traveled 438 feet over Nationals Park's center-field wall and had an 113.8 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™. Seventeen of Stanton's home runs have given Miami the lead, including Tuesday's, which put the Marlins in front, 4-1.

Stanton has hit 12 homers since the All-Star break, which is the most in baseball during that span.

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound right fielder entered Tuesday atop the league's home run leaderboard, and he extended his advantage over Yankees rookie Aaron Judge to three homers. In addition to flashing his power, Stanton is hitting .346 (9-for-26) in August.

Stanton is four home runs shy of the Marlins' single-season record (42), set by Gary Sheffield in 1996.

"It's really cool to have that [proximity to the record]," Stanton said, "and have so much time to advance on it."

Entering this series, Stanton had just one home run vs. the Nationals this season in nine contests. But Stanton has hit 31 homers in his career vs. Washington, trailing only the Mets for the most he's hit against any team.

"There's going to be a year here, a year there, a team gets him out," Mattingly said. "In general, guys who hit 40 to 50, they're getting them against everyone, and you just think, 'Man, he hits really good against us over the years.'"

Remaining healthy has been the main key toward Stanton's success this campaign, as he dealt with nagging injuries over the past few seasons. Mattingly believes Stanton should hit 40 to 50 homers each year he's injury-free. But the 27-year-old also credited improved plate discipline for his breakout year.

Stanton has drawn 56 walks this season, his most since he notched 94 in '14, a season in which he hit 37 homers. Stanton is also hitting behind Dee Gordon in the two-hole, so when the speedster reaches base, pitchers have to worry about him stealing.

Stanton said he's found the best formula to working through slumps in his eighth season, such as walking or singling to stay in a rhythm when he's sore.

"Obviously he's always had pop," said right-hander Vance Worley, who allowed one run over six innings Tuesday. "Now he kind of hunts pitches, and he hits them far. And they're loud, and I like it. I like being on that side of it."

While Miami is dealing with an array of injuries, Stanton has helped the Marlins win eight of their past 13 games, even without Justin Bour (strained right oblique), who has the third-most homers on the team.

"It's very enjoyable to watch him have the success," second baseman Derek Dietrich said. "Now it's like every single night he's homering and powering our lineup. Really it's been fun to watch. He's the catalyst. He's what makes our lineup really go, and he drives in the runs. He's going to hit a lot more before the season's over, I promise you."

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.