It took him longer than he wanted, but when Giancarlo Stanton finally belted his first home run of the season Saturday night he really got into it.
The first inning blast off Cubs left-hander Travis Wood soared over the left field video scoreboard and only stayed inside Marlins Park because it bounced off the sliding glass doors behind it. The ball traveled an eye-opening and estimated 472-feet -- third longest of his career.
“It hit the windows," Stanton said afterward. "Window damage.’’
According to ESPN's hittrackeronline.com, which keeps record of home run distances, Stanton's blast fell three feet shy of the longest in baseball this season. That record still belongs to the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, who belted one 475-feet last week against the Rangers at Wrigley Field.
The homer was also the longest home run at Marlins Park. The previous mark was a 462-foot shot by Stanton last May 21.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum was impressed by the shot.
"“I guess if you are going to give one up, you don’t want to give up any cheapies,” Sveum said. “That’s as far as I’ve seen a ball hit. As strong as he is and getting a 3-1 fastball …”
When told that the shot was measured at 472 feet, Sveum said: “I think that’s a little bit short.”
According to hittrackeronline, Stanton's two longest career blasts have come at Coors Field. His longest home run -- and longest by anyone during the 2012 season -- was a 494-foot blast off Rockies pitcher Josh Roenicke It was 29-feet longer than anyone else in the game last season. Stanton's second longest blast traveled 474 feet at Coors back in 2011.
Could Stanton remember hitting a ball better than he did Saturday?
"That one was pretty good," he said. "Here I’ve hit a few of those foul. So it was nice to finally get it on the right side of the pole."
By hitting Saturday's home run, Stanton ended a run of 72 consecutive at-bats dating back to Oct. 1 of last season without a long ball. It was the third-longest stretch of his career without a long ball. Last season, he opened the year without hitting a home run until his 69th at-bat.
His longest career streak without a home run is a run of 97 at-bats from the end of the 2011 season (29 at-bats) to his first home run in 2012 (68-at-bats). His second-longest career streak without a home run was a span of 83 at-bats from June 11, 2011 to July 6, 2011.
With his team owning the worst record in the majors at 5-18, the worst team batting average in the game (.222) and the fewest homers (7) in the game, Marlins manager Mike Redmond was asked by a reporter before Saturday's game against the Cubs if any motivational speakers have been brought in to help shake things up.
"I consider myself a motivational speaker because I’ve watched Saturday Night Live a couple of times," Redmond said straight-faced. "I was actually going to talk to the guys tonight. I was writing some stuff down."
Redmond was of course joking. But he says deep down inside he really isn't laughing about the team's struggles. Saturday he put out his 22nd different lineup hoping to find a spark on offense.
"We've been mixing and matching all year, trying to find a lineup that produces more than two runs. I'm laughing, but I'm crying inside," Redmond said. "We've talked about it. It seems like whatever combination we use it seems to be producing the same thing. It's kind of where we're at. [Austin] Kearns has had some great at-bats. He's had some walks and some big hits. Maybe he's the spark that gets us going. Like I've been saying the whole year We're looking for a spark. It doesn't have to be a hit. Maybe it's a walk. It could be a jam shot with a couple guys on. I'll take anything right now."
Maybe the ghost of Chris Farley could help the Marlins snap out of their funk. After all, he did a pretty good job as the character Matt Foley cracking people up.
> Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria continues to show signs of progress in his return from a bruised right elbow and will play in rehab games in Single A Jupiter Monday and Tuesday before hitting the road with the Marlins as long as he doesn't have any setbacks, Redmond said. Hechavarria is scheduled to come off the disabled list Thursday when the Marlins open up a four-game series in Philadelphia.
> Right-hander Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) threw 45 pitches in a simulated game Saturday and will throw 60 pitches in his first rehab game Thursday in Jupiter, Redmond said.
> Marlins (5-18): 1. Donovan Solano 2B, 2. Placido Polanco 3B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Austin Kearns LF, 5. Justin Ruggiano CF, 6. Joe Mahoney 1B, 7. Miguel Olivo C, 8. Chris Valaika SS, 9. Alex Sanabia RHP.
> Cubs (8-14): 1. David DeJesus CF, 2. Starlin Castro SS, 3. Anthony Rizzo 1B, 4. Alfonso Soriano LF, 5. Nate Schierholtz RF, 6. Wellington Castillo C, 7. Luis Valbuena 3B, 8. Darwin Barney 2B, 9. LHP Travis Wood.