Mike Stanton is California cool when it comes to his demeanor. But he said he became upset -- to what degree is anyone's guess -- when he was around 10 and a few of his friends were the first to hit home runs in Little League.
"I was kind of mad I wasn't the first in the league to hit a home run," Stanton said Thursday, one day after going 5 for 5. "I think I was maybe the third. My friends hit 'em first."
It's probably a fair bet that none of them are swatting homers the way Stanton is now. His titanic blast Wednesday against the Nationals was the talk of the clubhouse, though Stanton said it is not the hardest one he's hit as a Marlin.
"I'd say the one I hit at home, the opposite-field one (against the Braves)," Stanton said.
Stanton shrugged off his five-hit performance -- only the 14th in Marlins history and first since Hanley Ramirez had five hits in a 2008 game, -- saying "it could have easily been 3 for 5."
And that's true. Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond nearly came up with his line drive in the second inning. Desmond did a juggling act with the hard hit ball before it finally fell to the ground. And Stanton's fourth-inning double to right was initially ruled an error after it glanced off the glove of Michael Morse. The scorer changed it to a double after looking over the replay.
Still, even Stanton admits his success at such an early age (he's only 20) is "definitely a little eye-opening."
Stanton is the first Marlins rookie to collect five hits in a game since Dan Uggla did it in 2006. He is the third rookie this season in the majors to come up with five hits, joining Pittsburgh's Neil Walker and Detroit's Austin Jackson.
Stanton also became the second youjgest player to register five hits and drive in four runs in the same game since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920. The Cubs' Phil Cavarretta had five hits and four RBI at the age of 19 years and 33 days on Aug. 21, 1935.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez said catcher Ronny Paulino is starting to show signs of fatigue behind the plate, which could help explain his woes at the plate. Paulino has hit .182 since the All-Star break, is 0 for his last 17, and was replaced in Thursday's starting lineup by Brett Hayes.
Rodriguez said Hayes will likely start to "see more action."
"I think he's a little bit tired," Rodriguez said of Paulino. "I can see that, mainly behind the plate. Defensively he's looking a little bit tired, and for good reason. He's been playing out there a lot."
But Paulino said he feels fine physically. He said his failings at the plate are mostly mental,
"I don't think I can say that (point the finger at fatigue)," Paulino said. "I feel good. If it (excessive playing time) was bothering me, I think I would be tired behind the plate, too, and I'm not."
-- By going 2 for 5 with two RBI on Wednesday, Donnie Murphy earned a chance to start again on Thursday over Wes Helms.
Marlins: 1. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 2. Logan Morrison, lf; 3. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b; 5. Cody Ross, cf; 6. Mike Stanton, rf; 7. Donnie Murphy, 3b; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Ricky Nolasco, p.
Nationals: 1. Roger Bernadina, cf; 2. Ian Desmond, ss; 3. Adam Dunn, 1b; 4. Ryan Zimmerman, 3b; 5. Michael Morse, rf; 6. Adam Kennedy, 2b; 7. Ivan Rodriguez, c; 8. Willie Harris, lf; 9. Livan Hernandez, p.
Umpires: HP -- Mike Winters; 1B -- Hunter Wendelstedt; 2B -- Jerry Layne; 3B -- Alan Porter