During a promising start to the 2011 season, the Florida Marlins seemed to have a flare for the dramatic. At the forefront of that was slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
On this day 10 years ago, a Stanton blast in the Marlins’ final at-bat lifted the team to a thrilling win for the second time in two weeks. This time, it came against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in an 8-7 victory.
The May 4, 2011 contest went to the ninth inning tied 6-6. The Cardinals turned to reliable rookie Eduardo Sanchez to try to keep Florida off the scoreboard in the top of the ninth. Sanchez’s night started with a walk to Hanley Ramírez, but he settled in to strike out Gaby Sanchez.
That brought the slugger then known as Mike Stanton to the plate. Sanchez missed with his first pitch for a ball, but his second pitch missed out over the plate. With catcher Yadier Molina set up outside, Sanchez’s pitch caught most of the plate and Stanton didn’t miss it. His blast over the left field wall gave the Marlins an 8-6 lead and the eventual victory.
Against closer Juan Carlos Oviedo, then known as Leo Núñez, the Cardinals made things interesting. Jon Jay’s solo home run with one out cut the lead in half before Albert Pujols drew a walk. The dangerous Matt Holliday represented the winning run as he came to the plate, but the Florida closer was able to get him to ground into a double play to end the contest.
Throughout the night, offense wasn’t hard to come by. Both teams scored a pair of runs in the first before the Marlins opened things up with four runs in the top of the third inning. The Cardinals answered with two in the bottom half of the frame and drew even in the sixth with an RBI groundout from Daniel Descalso and an RBI single from Ryan Theriot.
Infielders Emilio Bonifacio and Omar Infante each finished with three hits for the Marlins while Ramirez scored three times. Pujols scored two of the seven runs for St. Louis.
The star of the night, however, was Stanton who delivered for the Marlins with his late blast. That blast came on this day a decade ago.