WASHINGTON -- Not that Mike Stanton needs much help hitting the ball over the wall, but technology assisted the Marlins rookie in getting his 12th home run of the season on Thursday night.
In the second inning at Nationals Park, Stanton took the ball deep to right-center off Nationals veteran Livan Hernandez. After the ball bounced back into the field of play, Stanton sprinted to third with what initially would have been an RBI triple.
Immediately, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez asked the umpires to review whether the ball was out of the park. Home plate umpire Mike Winters got with crew chief Jerry Layne, and the four umpires headed off the field to check instant replay.
It didn't take long for them to return. Winters informed Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, and then signaled home run. Stanton trotted home with what was scored a two-run homer that gave Florida a 2-0 lead.
After matching a franchise record by collecting five hits on Wednesday night, Stanton's homer marked his sixth consecutive hit.
Stanton now has 12 home runs -- and he is approaching the rookie home run leaders in far fewer games. He reached 12 homers in his 190th at-bat.
Called up from Double-A Jacksonville on June 8, Stanton was playing his 53rd big league game. Tyler Colvin of the Cubs, through 104 games, paces all rookies with 18 homers.
Stanton climbing rookie home run ladder
WASHINGTON -- Don't look now, but Mike Stanton is catching up.
Other rookies have had a head start, meaning they've had more games and at-bats, but Stanton is moving up the rookie home run ranks.
After belting his monstrous homer to left on Wednesday night, the Marlins' rookie upped his total to 11 after 189 big league at-bats. That's sixth among all rookies.
In the second inning on Thursday, Stanton connected on an opposite-field shot, giving him 12. Initially, there was confusion if the ball cleared the wall, and the home run came via a replay reversal.
If all things were equal, Stanton likely would be running away with it. But, the 20-year-old didn't get his callup from Double-A Jacksonville until June 8.
Thursday night was his 53rd game -- compared to 104 for Tyler Colvin of the Cubs, who paces all rookies with 18. Ike Davis of the Mets has 15 in 99 games, while Detroit's Brennan Boesch has 14 in 92 games. Atlanta's Jason Heyward has 14 in 95 games, and like Stanton, Marlins teammate Gaby Sanchez has 12 in 105 games.
Is there enough time for Stanton to belt more homers than any rookie this season?
"It wouldn't surprise me," manager Edwin Rodriguez said.
Stanton isn't conceding anything.
"I don't know, you never know," Stanton said. "We have another month and a half to go. Who knows? We'll have to wait and see."
Based on the fact he hit 21 homers in Double-A this season, he is no stranger to belting home runs in bunches.
The Florida right fielder continues to amaze -- especially after matching a franchise record with five hits in Wednesday's 9-5 win over the Nationals.
Stanton homered, had two doubles and two singles -- and he was a triple shy of the first cycle in Marlins history.
Stanton is the second Marlin ever to have five hits and four RBIs in the same game. Gary Sheffield did it on Sept. 17, 1995 at Colorado, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
At 20 years and 276 days, Stanton is the second youngest player to have five hits and four RBIs since 1920 -- the year the RBI became an official statistic. Phil Cavarretta had five hits and four RBIs at 19 years, 33 days on Aug. 21, 1935.
"His makeup. That's what amazes me," Rodriguez said. "He works hard. He doesn't want to waste a day. He wants to get better every day."
Stanton is dedicated to working hard, and continuing to progress. A daily routine he has is lifting weights immediately after games. He feels it is important to keep up the pace so he finishes strong.
"The past two years, I kind of got lazy the last couple of months and I felt my body take a down spill," said the 6-foot-5 1/2, 240-pounder. "This year, I've kept my weight up.
"If I come to my locker and sit for a little bit, I wouldn't want to work out. So I have to get it out of the way."
As Morrison adjusts, the power will follow
WASHINGTON -- In time, Logan Morrison's power numbers promise to be there.
Right now, after 13 games in the big leagues, the Marlins' rookie left fielder has perspective.
The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder is looking to get his game rolling. The lone lefty bat in the lineup, Morrison is regarded as a potential .300 hitter who goes gap to gap.
As long as he keeps progressing, power should emerge.
"It's going to develop as soon as he learns the pitchers," manager Edwin Rodriguez said of Morrison's power.
In the first two games at Washington, Morrison is showing signs of picking things up. He went 3-for-4 with three runs scored in Wednesday's 9-5 win over the Nationals. It was his first three hit game since being called up from Triple-A New Orleans.
On Tuesday night, Morrison was 1-for-2 with three walks.
In 11 of his first 13 games, he has collected at least one hit -- and he's hitting .283 with a .356 on-base percentage.
"It's just a matter of convincing yourself that it's the same game," Morrison said of life in the big leagues. "You still have three strikes. You have to swing at the good pitches to hit, and let the bad ones go.
"That's really a big key. You're only as good as the pitches you swing at. I've done a really good job of that in this series."
Until the Washington series, Morrison hadn't scored a run. He has four in the first two games.
Paulino gets a breather
WASHINGTON -- A day off may be all Ronny Paulino needs to get back on track.
The Marlins' catcher, mired in an 0-for-17 slump, was out of the starting lineup on Thursday in the series finale with the Nationals.
Brett Hayes got the start behind the plate.
Batting .260 with four homers and 37 RBIs, Paulino's numbers have tailed off since the All-Star break -- as he's hitting .182 (12-for-66) with one homer and seven RBIs in that span.
"I think he's a little bit tired," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "I can see that mainly behind the plate, defensively, he's getting a little tired. For good reason, he's been playing hard. I see Hayes getting more action."
Hayes has appeared in 15 games and is batting .243.
The plan is to give Paulino a day. But, Rodriguez is open to playing Hayes more -- especially if the rookie enjoys some success.
"It's more of a day off for Ronny," Rodriguez said. "Then again if Hayes goes off and goes crazy, he's going to be out there more and more frequently."
The more he shows, the more opportunity Donnie Murphy will get at third base. Murphy had a solid start in Wednesday's win over the Nationals, going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. He also made a couple of nice plays at third base. Wes Helms will get a majority of the work at third base, but Murphy promises to see more time. "With the kind of game he had, defensively and clutch hitting, he deserves to be out there," Rodriguez said. Murphy has three homers and 10 RBIs in 27 at-bats. ... After three straight outings where he allowed a run, including two blown saves, Leo Nunez enjoyed a perfect inning on Wednesday. The closer threw 10 pitches and he struck out two in a non-save chance. "He was mixing his pitches," Rodriguez said. "He threw his changeup and fastball for strikes." Nunez has 26 saves in 33 chances. ... Hanley Ramirez was 4-for-7 with three doubles and a homer in the first two games at Washington.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.