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Must C Clutch: Stanton hits go-ahead homer in 11th

SAN DIEGO -- The solution to the Marlins' road woes was Giancarlo Stanton's power.

On a Thursday night when the ball wasn't carrying, Stanton delivered the decisive, two-run homer in the 11th inning that lifted Miami to a 3-1 win over the Padres at Petco Park.

Stanton's strength continues to amaze. For those tuned in to a game that lasted 3 hours, 22 minutes, the slugger had people talking yet again.

"That was quite a homer," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I don't know if I've ever seen a ball hit that hard. I didn't think, especially a righty, could hit an [opposite-field] home run here. That was a perfect time. A great at-bat."

Jacob Turner, the Marlins starter, watched in wonder as the drive kept carrying to center and over the fence into the sand-filled beach area beyond the fence.

"That's pretty ridiculous," Turner said. "To be able to hit the ball like that on a line, I don't know how many guys can do that. He's swinging a hot bat. Whenever he's doing that, he's pretty dangerous."

The way the Padres saw it, Dale Thayer threw a good 0-2 pitch. He was just victimized by one of the biggest forces in the game.

"From the dugout, it looked down and away," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "Not many guys can put the ball where he did with that pitch. He's a good player and he's off to a great start."

Stanton paces the National League with 11 homers, and his 40 RBIs are tops in the Majors. The slugger also now has eight game-winning RBIs.

A native of Sherman Oaks, Calif., Stanton feels right at home hitting in Southern California.

"That Cali air, man," he said. "I'm used to breathing it. I grew up breathing it."

The Marlins, winners of five straight for the first time this season, capitalized on Jedd Gyorko's two-out error that allowed Derek Dietrich to reach on what was a routine grounder.

With the inning extended, Thayer quickly got two strikes on Stanton before the Miami slugger laced his game-deciding homer to center field.

As he rounded the bases, Stanton couldn't help but smile. Hitting a home run in that situation was not on his mind, especially after he felt he looked foolish on the previous pitch.

"I looked pretty silly on that second pitch," Stanton said. "I knew he was either going to throw something in the dirt or try to elevate that fastball again to see what I was going to do with it.

"That wasn't a home run swing. Usually, when you have a nice and easy swing like that, good things happen. That worked."

The Marlins, who took sole possession of first place in the NL East by a half-game, improved to 3-10 on the road and 2-3 in extra innings.

Although they matched their season-high by striking out 17 times, Stanton's drive, estimated at 412 feet, gave Miami all the run support it needed.

The dramatic finish contrasted the sluggish start, which had Stanton upset at his and the club's performance.

"I was disappointed with the way we came out, and the way I came out, as a team," Stanton said. "It was very lackadaisical. I didn't want it to be, 'We'll cruise through this road trip and save us at home again.' That's not going to work all year. That's why I was a little uneasy with this game."

Miami's pitching picked up the slack.

Turner, 0-9 lifetime on the road, turned in a solid performance in his first away start of the season. The 22-year-old threw six innings, allowing one run on five hits with four strikeouts.

Turner happened to be matched up against a right-hander who was nearly perfect for five innings.

Ian Kennedy was overpowering, at the plate and on the mound. Kennedy struck out 12 in seven innings. The right-hander also delivered the lone run off Turner with his first career home run.

"He was using three pitches and locating them very well," Stanton said. "You were pretty much going to see three pitches in your at-bat. All his pitches were on point."

Kennedy held Miami without a baserunner for 4 2/3 innings before Garrett Jones' double off the wall in deep right-center in the fifth.

In the sixth inning, the Marlins finally broke through. After Kennedy logged two quick strikeouts, Christian Yelich doubled and scored on Dietrich's RBI single to right.

Dietrich came through with a big hit on exactly his one-year anniversary of breaking into the big leagues. On May 8, 2013, he made his MLB debut, which also happened to be at San Diego.

Through five innings, Kennedy was the story on the mound and at the plate.

In the second inning, Turner got two quick outs before Kennedy blasted a home run to left field. The drive came on a 2-0 pitch, and the run snapped the Marlins' 24 scoreless-innings streak, dating back to Monday night against the Mets.

The home run was the first by a San Diego pitcher since Andrew Cashner went deep against the D-backs on July 27, 2013.

Unlike previous road trips, getting down early didn't get Miami out.

"That was like an up-for-grabs type thing," Stanton said. "It was like, who was going to step up and get over the hump there. It's good we did it in 11 [innings], not 20."

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