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Stanton continues to impress his teammates with power, defensive ability

NEW YORK -- One might imagine Mike Stanton's teammates have seen enough of him over his first 203 major league games that impressing them isn't so easy anymore.

Mike StantonGuess again. His performance Monday night at CitiField -- even before he hit a game-winning, 10th inning grand slam off Jason Isringhausen -- provided more than a few more 'wows' in the Marlins clubhouse. 

In fact, nothing he's done to date might have been more impressive than the home run Stanton belted into the fourth deck in left center field (section 558) during batting practice Monday.

"Hands down the furthest I've seen anybody hit a ball," veteran Wes Helms said. "You don't think a human could do it. But he does it."

Said catcher John Buck of the pre-game blast: "Even if I was standing on second base, there's no way I could have hit the ball where he hit it yesterday."

Stanton second career grand slam Monday not only won the game it also made history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stanton became the youngest major league player to hit an extra inning grand slam since a 21-year old Johnny Bench did it for the Reds on Aug. 13, 1969.

In the end, teammate Logan Morrison said, Stanton's power will probably overshadow everything he does in baseball. But his improved defensive skills are also something Morrison should also command respect. In the fifth inning Monday, Stanton picked up his eighth outfield assist of the season in right field when he threw out the speedy Jose Reyes at the plate. The line drive, pinpoint throw saved what turned out to be a key run once Leo Nunez blew the save by giving up a two-run homer to Lucas Duda in the ninth.

According to fangraphs.com, Stanton is second among NL outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved with 11, trailing only Arizona's Gerardo Parra (15).

"I saw that guy come in and play right field in the first mini camp of his professional career and I was like this guy is going to have to be a DH because there's no way he's going to make it out there," Morrison said. "He was breaking in on balls over his head. His hat was two sizes too small. It didn't look like he belonged in a baseball uniform. He still doesn't look like it because he's so big. But the confidence he shows and his ability, it's pretty impressive to see the change he's made out there. He's good."

WISE SAID HE CAUGHT LUCKY BREAK ON BASE RUNNING GAFF: Before Stanton delivered the game-winning grand slam Monday, outfielder Dewayne Wise came dangerously close to making a huge base-running blunder.

With Gaby Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez on first and second base, Wise singled through the hole in right and began his turn for second as the relay throw toward the plate was cutoff by Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy. Wise said he thought Sanchez, who stole his second base of the season earlier in the game, was definitely headed home on the play. But Sanchez was held at third, and Wise was hung out for what looked like would be the second out of the inning.

But as Murphy ran toward Wise at first, he turned for a split second to see where Sanchez was. That turned out to be the little break Wise needed to dive back into first safely.

"The moment I saw his eyes look away from me, that's how I got back," Wise said. "All he had to do was throw it to first [where second baseman Justin Turner was covering the bag]. I could see if Boni was at third base, you might want to take a peek. I'm just glad it worked out."

Asked about Wise's fancy footwork on the play, manager Jack McKeon joked: "Well, he's been working with Muhammad Ali. So, he's got the rope-a-dope down and stuff like that."

> McKeon, who likes to joke with reporters and tell funny stories from his past just about everyday, was interrupted Tuesday by a cell phone call. He looked down for a moment, checked the caller ID and cracked: "Obama. I can't answer. Sign the thing! What the hell is he calling me for? He should sign it."

> Morrison went down to the MLB Man Cave Tuesday and filmed a video that makes fun of him being attacked by a Praying Mantis -- as he was last week in Atlanta.

"The cool part was that the mantis was [Giants general manager Brian] Sabean's son. Apparently, he's an intern there," Morrison said.

Sabean ripped into the Marlins and outfielder Scott Cousins back in May when Cousins crashed into and injured catcher Buster Posey.

LINEUPS
> Marlins (54-55): 1. Emilio Bonifacio 3B, 2. Omar Infante 2B, 3. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 4. Hanley Ramirez SS, 5. Logan Morrison LF, 6. Mike Stanton RF, 7. Mike Cameron CF, 8. John Buck C, 9. Brad Hand P.
> Mets (55-54): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Justin Turner 2B, 3. David Wright 3B, 4. Jerry Hairston RF, 5. Jason Bay LF, 6. Angel Pagan CF, 7. Lucas Duda 1B, 8. Mike Nickeas C, 9. Chris Capuano P. 

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