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Tampa Bay at Florida

Tampa Bay
W: N. Robertson (5-5) L: M. Garza (7-5)
S: L. Nunez (14)
HR: TB - None   FLA - M. Stanton (1)

Marlins' Stanton blasts grand slam for first homer in big leagues

CBSSports.com wire reports

MIAMI -- Mike Stanton stole a bat from Dan Uggla, then got a uniform fashion tip from Cody Ross.

Somehow, that was the formula for the rookie's first major league home run -- a grand slam worthy of a curtain call.

Stanton's slam was the biggest blow in a disastrous five-run first inning for Tampa Bay's Matt Garza, and it helped carry the Florida Marlins past the Rays 7-4 Friday.

"Dan's bat and Cody's idea to put pants up," Stanton said. "The only reason I hit it. Full credit to them."

Ross and Uggla got their reward afterward, delivering the obligatory shaving-cream-in-the-face gag while Stanton did a postgame TV interview.

"Incredible," Ross said.

Garza (7-5) had a decidedly different view of the evening.

He had the shortest outing of his career, lasting just 1 1/3 innings and giving up seven runs on seven hits while walking three. His ERA climbed from 3.50 to 4.16, and he needed 49 pitches - the second-highest total by anyone in a single inning this season - just to record his first three outs.

By comparison, Washington star rookie Stephen Strasburg threw 47 pitches in his first 4 1/3 innings Friday against the White Sox.

"This is probably one of the lowest points of my career," Garza said. "It just can't get any lower."

Ben Zobrist hit a two-run double in the first for Tampa Bay, which has dropped three straight and six of its last eight, including three of four against the Marlins. The Rays remained tied with the New York Yankees for the best record in the majors, the AL East rivals both now 41-26.

"He could not find where the ball was going," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of his starter. "I've never seen that."

Garza gave up a double to Chris Coghlan to start the game and walked three of the next five batters, stopping to smooth mound dirt with his foot several times.

Still, he was one strike away from getting out of the first having yielded just one run, before Stanton -- who fouled off the first 3-2 pitch he saw -- sent a fastball over the wall in left-center, the first hit at home for the highly touted 20-year-old rookie and one that merited a curtain call from the crowd of 17,310.

Stanton's wore his pants legs high Friday, like Uggla and Ross have done and just like he had in Double-A. Alas, he did so in the minors because there weren't pants long enough to fit his 6-foot-5 frame.

The homer came in his 32nd at-bat.

"About time," said Stanton, who hit 21 home runs in 52 games in Double-A.

Nate Robertson (5-5) gave up five hits and three runs, two earned, in six innings for Florida, striking out six and walking one. Leo Nunez worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 17 opportunities.

The Marlins batted for 30 minutes in the first. The only pitcher so far this season to throw more pitches in an inning, according to STATS LLC, was Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm, who needed 54 to escape the third inning against St. Louis last month.

Coghlan doubled again to lead off the second, scored two batters later on Hanley Ramirez's single. Uggla's RBI single later in the inning brought Gaby Sanchez home for a 7-2 lead, and Garza -- who had gone at least five innings in all 13 of his starts this season -- saw his night finally end.

"You'll probably never see that happen against him again," Ross said. "He's lights-out, normally."

Scott Strickland got two outs in the seventh for the Marlins, allowing a run on two hits in his first major-league appearance since Sept. 28, 2005. He'd been in the minors ever since, and considered retiring earlier this season for a full-time job repossessing cars for a family member's firm in Texas.

Andy Sonnanstine, Dan Wheeler and Lance Cormier combined for 6 2/3 innings of shutout relief for Tampa Bay, giving up a combined four hits while striking out seven and walking none.


  • Garza's shortest start had been 2 1/3 innings Aug. 20, 2007 against Seattle. He threw two innings of relief against the Yankees on July 2, 2007.
  • The Rays saw a chance to get perhaps within two runs evaporate in the seventh, when B.J. Upton -- who had just gotten to second on his 21st steal of the year -- was caught trying to swipe third.
  • Robertson hit into an unusual 5-6-4 double play while trying to bunt in the fifth.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Mike Stanton starts off his home run category in the best way possible -- a grand slam. (US Presswire)
Mike Stanton starts off his home run category in the best way possible -- a grand slam. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game

M. Stanton
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
Tampa Bay

B. Zobrist
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0

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Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. Upton, CF5011000 .230
Carl Crawford, LF5110001 .293
Evan Longoria, 3B3000111 .309
Carlos Pena, 1B3110111 .199
Ben Zobrist, RF4012001 .308
Sean Rodriguez, 2B4110022 .268
Kelly Shoppach, C2010010 .222
   a- John Jaso, PH-C0000100 .285
Jason Bartlett, SS4000013 .222
Matt Garza, P1000010 .000
    Andy Sonnanstine, P1000012 .000
   b- Hank Blalock, PH1110000 .278
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
    Lance Cormier, P0000000 .000
   c- Willy Aybar, PH1000000 .241
a-walked for Shoppach in the 8th
b-doubled for Sonnanstine in the 7th
c-grounded out for Cormier in the 9th
2B - Ben Zobrist (14, Robertson), Hank Blalock (3, Strickland)
RBI - B.J. Upton (25), Ben Zobrist 2 (37)
2-OUT RBI - Ben Zobrist 2 (12)
SB - B.J. Upton (21, 2nd base off Strickland/Paulino)
CS - B.J. Upton (6, 3rd base by Strickland/Paulino)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Longoria-Bartlett-S. Rodriguez
Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Garza (L,7-5) 1.1777321 4.16
Andy Sonnanstine 4.2300040 3.89
Dan Wheeler 1000030 3.32
Lance Cormier 1100000 3.77
HBP - Cantu (by Andy Sonnanstine)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Garza 71-44, Andy Sonnanstine 55-39, Dan Wheeler 12-9, Lance Cormier 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Sonnanstine 6-3, Lance Cormier 2-1
Batters Faced - Matt Garza 14, Andy Sonnanstine 17, Dan Wheeler 3, Lance Cormier 4
Florida Marlins
Chris Coghlan, LF5220002 .278
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4110001 .281
    Brian Sanches, P0000000 .000
   a- Mike Lamb, PH1000001 .192
    Leo Nunez, P0000000 .000
Hanley Ramirez, SS3111110 .282
Jorge Cantu, 3B-1B3000034 .273
Dan Uggla, 2B3121110 .267
Cody Ross, CF3101124 .285
Mike Stanton, RF4124012 .257
Ronny Paulino, C4030010 .313
Nate Robertson, P3000002 .100
    Scott Strickland, P0000000 .000
    Taylor Tankersley, P0000000 .000
    Wes Helms, 3B1000001 .272
a-grounded out for Sanches in the 8th
2B - Chris Coghlan 2 (14, Garza, Garza), Ronny Paulino (11, Garza)
HR - Mike Stanton (1, Garza)
RBI - Hanley Ramirez (37), Dan Uggla (38), Cody Ross (38), Mike Stanton 4 (8)
2-OUT RBI - Cody Ross (21), Mike Stanton 4 (7)
Team LOB - 7
DP - H. Ramirez-G. Sanchez
E - Hanley Ramirez 2 (9, Misplayed grounder)
Florida Marlins
Nate Robertson (W,5-5) 6532160 4.44
Scott Strickland 0.2211100 13.50
Taylor Tankersley (H,2) 0.1000010 3.60
Brian Sanches (H,5) 1000110 3.00
Leo Nunez (S,14) 1000000 2.60
HBP - Shoppach (by Nate Robertson)
Pitches-Strikes - Nate Robertson 88-61, Scott Strickland 12-4, Taylor Tankersley 5-3, Brian Sanches 20-14, Leo Nunez 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nate Robertson 10-3, Leo Nunez 3-0
Batters Faced - Nate Robertson 26, Scott Strickland 4, Taylor Tankersley 1, Brian Sanches 4, Leo Nunez 3
Game Information
Attendance - 17310
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 87
Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Ed Rapuano, Third Base - Tom Hallion