MIAMI — Giancarlo Stanton emerged from the Miami Marlins' postgame clubhouse Sunday sipping on a pink refreshment. Watermelon-flavoured water, he said.
So that's the secret?
"It might be," Stanton said. "I don't know."
No one can really explain his current home run binge, not even Stanton, but it shows no signs of ending. The All-Star slugger reached a couple of milestones Sunday by hitting a homer in his fourth consecutive game, and the Marlins completed their first series sweep of the Colorado Rockies since 2006, winning 5-3.
Stanton hit his 42nd homer leading off the third inning to tie Gary Sheffield's team season record set in 1996. It was the 250th homer of Stanton's career and came in his 941st game.
Only five players since 1913 have reached the 250-milestone faster, and Stanton's pace is accelerating. The homer was his 21st in the past 33 games.
"There's a lot happening at once," Stanton said. "Just enjoy the ride, and keep it going."
Stanton made it a long weekend for the Rockies, and their misery was compounded when major league RBI leader Nolan Arenado left the game in the fifth inning with a bruised left hand after being hit by an 88-mph fastball from Vance Worley.
Following the game, Arenado said his hand was stiff and swollen, but X-rays were negative. He said he hopes to be sidelined for only a couple of days and is optimistic he can avoid a stint on the disabled list.
"It hurt real bad," the All-Star third baseman said. "It got real tight. That was my concern — how tight it was getting. Luckily it's not broken, but it hurts a little bit."
German Marquez (9-5) lost for the first time in his past seven starts, allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings. Worley gave up three runs in four-plus innings but contributed a two-run single.
Javy Guerra (1-0) earned his first victory since 2014 with two scoreless innings. He protected a two-run lead in the fifth, when he came on with runners at second and third and none out, and escaped without allowing a run.
Odrisamer Despaigne pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save. Manager Don Mattingly said he had limited options in the bullpen because of a recent heavy workload, but four relievers combined for five shutout innings.
"We were a little light," Mattingly said. "Despaigne was probably our last guy we wanted to use today."
Stanton lined a 3-2 fastball over the right field fence to make the score 3-all, giving him at least one home run in eight of the past 10 games. He leads the majors in homers, and his 16 since the All-Star break are also the most.
"There are not that many guys who leave that opposite field that often," Mattingly said. "But as soon as he hits it, you know it's gone."
As Stanton reflected on tying the team home run record, he talked about growing up in Los Angeles and attending Dodgers games when Sheffield played for them after leaving the Marlins.
"I really enjoyed watching him play as a kid," Stanton said. "Definitely good company to be in. It's not something I'll fully appreciate until the year is over, but it's a cool thing to have under my belt, and I've got time to get more."
Rockies: Manager Bud Black returned to the dugout after missing one game because of illness.
Marlins: RHP Kyle Barraclough (right shoulder) will be activated in the next couple of days, Mattingly said.
SEA LEVEL WOES
The Rockies went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position, and 5 for 39 (.128) in those situations on their five-game trip. The rough weekend is nothing new for the Rockies in Miami, where their record is 35-64.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis will complete his comeback from chemotherapy for testicular cancer by starting Monday night's game in Denver against Atlanta.
"We're all extremely excited to have him back in a big league uniform," Black said. "He has been through a lot in the past nine or 10 months. It's a great comeback for a guy who is a tremendous human being."
Marlins: LHP Adam Conley (4-5, 5.43) is scheduled to start Monday against the San Francisco Giants and LHP Ty Blach (8-7, 4.15).
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