hit his 99th and 100th career home runs on Monday night in Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Giancarlo Stanton is making up for lost time. Since returning from a six-week absence due to a hamstring strain, he's homered four times in seven games, including two on Monday night against the Diamondbacks — the second of which won the game and carved him a small niche in the history books.
The Marlins were held hitless for the first five innings of Monday's game by Arizona's Patrick Corbin and fell behind 2-0. Juan Pierre broke up the no-hitter with one out in the sixth, and two batters later, Stanton clubbed a 394-foot homer to leftfield to tie the game — the only other hit Corbin surrendered over eight innings of strong work. With the score still knotted in the ninth, Stanton connected again off former teammate Heath Bell, this time bashing a 405-foot homer to rightfield:
The second home run was the 100th of his career, enabling Stanton to edge out Frank Robinson as the 10th-fastest player to the century mark by age (data from The Baseball Almanac):
That's not too shabby considering his time missed not only this year but last year as well, when he lost a month to in-season knee surgery. Accounting for lost time, Stanton's 100th homer came in his 400th game played, which ties Ryan Braun for the eighth-fastest on that scale:
|Rk ||Player ||Team||Games to 100|
Stanton's in the company of five Hall of Famers on each list, not to mention several other players likely to wind up there. After climbing to 11th in homers through his age-22 season, he needs 16 to tie Jones and Jimmie Foxx for 10th in homers through an age-23 season, and 21 to tie Mickey Mantle and Juan Gonzalez for eighth; Mathews and Ott are tied for first at 153.
Back to the here and now, Stanton has collected hits in all seven games since coming off the DL and he's hitting a blistering .393/.433/.929 in 30 plate appearances. The Marlins are 4-3 over that span while scoring 4.14 runs per game, a vast improvement over the shape of things without him. While they still have the league's worst offense (3.13 runs per game) and worst record (22-47), their .318 winning percentage is now safely ahead of the 1962 Mets
' .250 mark. Historically significant slugger + historically awful team = garden-variety awful team, if you're scoring at home.