Different routes, but clouts key for Miami at Coors

Different routes, but clouts key for Miami at Coors

Different routes, but clouts key for Miami at Coors
DENVER -- Giancarlo Stanton has hit some prodigious home runs, majestic jaw-dropping shots in his young career. Earlier this season, he knocked out a few lights on the scoreboard in left field at Marlins Park when he walloped one off former Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer's soft toss for a grand slam.

But Stanton couldn't remember hitting a home run farther than the estimated 474-foot blast to center field Friday night that gave him a piece of Coors Field history and helped the Marlins beat the Rockies, 6-5. It was the longest home run at Coors Field this season.

Stanton tied the game at 5 in the sixth inning with his blast to center field off Josh Roenicke on a 1-2 hanging slider. John Buck doubled home what proved to be the winning run later in the inning.

The Rockies managed 12 hits, but 11 were singles. Winning pitcher Wade LeBlanc gave up five runs in five innings on nine hits, including an assortment of bloops and broken-bat hits. Four relievers combined to work four scoreless innings, and closer Steve Cishek earned his eighth save and preserved LeBlanc's second win -- and first in four starts since moving into the rotation Aug. 1.

"The only hard-hit ball they got off me was the double [by DJ LeMahieu in the third] -- and he didn't even score," LeBlanc said. "Figure that one out.

"Anytime you can get out of this place with a win, it's a good night. It's a tough job to pitch here."

LeBlanc said pitching at Coors Field can be frustrating, and the secret is to keep making good pitches.

"If you do that, eventually things even out, and hopefully you come out on top," he said. "The offense did an awesome job. I gave back two leads and they got me a third lead."

The Marlins scored a run in the first on a two-out double by Carlos Lee. Jose Reyes hit a three-run homer with two out in the fifth that put the Marlins ahead, 4-2. The ball just cleared the wall and glanced off the glove of left fielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Referring to Marlins Park, where home runs are hard to come by -- it's 386 feet to the wall in left-center, 418 feet to center and 392 feet to right-center -- manager Ozzie Guillen said, "In the field that we play, that ball would be a fly ball to shortstop. That was a big three-run homer for us."

Said Gonzalez: "It was in my glove. As soon as I hit the wall, the ball came out of my glove."

There was no doubt about Stanton's homer, his 23rd of the season. He has homered in each of the five games he has played at Coors Field, including three last season, and tied Jeff Kent as the only visiting player to homer in five consecutive games here.

When informed that he is now on the cusp of becoming the first player to homer in six consecutive games at Coors Field, Stanton said, "Well, we got tomorrow. We'll see what we got."

Stanton said the forest green background in center field, which is also in Philadelphia and Washington, is his favorite. At Coors Field, there is ivy growing on the batter's eye with Colorado Blue Spruce trees in front of it.

Asked if he could imagine the numbers he would put up if he played half his games at Coors Field, Stanton smiled and said, "Yeah, I could."

When asked if he cared to be more specific, he said, "No, you guys can use your imagination."

Buck entered the game hitting .183, but had gone 10-for-36 (.278) with seven doubles this month. Nonetheless, he is now sharing time at catcher with rookie Rob Brantly, who was promoted to the big leagues earlier this week.

After Stanton's homer, Donovan Solano tripled, and two batters later, Buck doubled to right-center to give the Marlins a 6-5 lead.

"Roenicke just left too good of a two-strike pitch up and out over the plate," Buck said. "I was able to get some good wood on it and put it in the outfield."

By then, LeBlanc was out of the game, his strange but satisfying start done, and, it turned out, a win because of the bullpen.

"LeBlanc was kind of looking at me like, 'What's wrong?'" Buck said. "I was like, 'Dude, do you want to give up a hard hit?' Let's just stick to the soft ones. They had a lot of hits that could've been outs, just those little bleeders right over the heads of our infielders. I told him to stick with it and not change a thing."

Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.