MIAMI — Marlins outfielder Reed Johnson stood at the top step of the dugout during Friday night’s ninth-inning delay once he saw the instant replay on the Jumbrotron.
With runners at first and second, Yoervis Medina fielded Marcell Ozuna’s sacrifice bunt and threw to third for the force out. But third baseman Kyle Seager bobbled the ball on the transfer.
Major league administrative coach Pat Shine called into the Marlins dugout to tell manager Mike Redmond to challenge the play. It took 1:35 before the umpiring crew overturned the call. It set up Giancarlo Stanton’s walk-off grand slam in an 8-4 win.
”I’ve read the rule. I think the plays we’ve all watched and seen throughout the big leagues this year is you definitely have to pull that thing out of your glove and have possession of it,” Redmond said. ”As far as where’s it headed I have no idea. It’s a rule we’re aware of.”
Johnson, who led off the inning with a pinch-hit single, said it could be changed in the future.
Will the rule resemble the National Football League’s two steps equate possession? Could it be expanded to double-play turns as well?
”I’ve seen ones in the last week way worse than that,” Johnson said. ”Right then when I saw the replay I was like, ‘That’s way more concrete than other ones I’ve seen.’ Unfortunately for them, but it worked out in our favor.”
Jarrod Saltalamacchia blasted a one-out homer halfway up the upper deck off Mariners righty Chris Young during the third inning.
Saltalamacchia’s shot went 429 feet according to ESPN’s tracker (473 via the club) for the fifth-longest home run at Marlins Park this season.
The dinger gave Miami a 4-2 lead. It also extended the team’s streak of nine consecutive games with a homer.
”I didn’t hit the Budweiser sign out there. (Stanton’s) completely got bragging rights,” Saltalamacchia said. ”It felt good to get a 2-0 pitch and do something with it instead of getting too big and popping up.
”I’m not big on pimping home runs and staring at them. Even though I knew it was probably gone I jogged a little bit so I didn’t see exactly where it landed.”
Asked where that ball would’ve landed at Fenway Park, where he played home games for four seasons, Saltalamacchia wasn’t quite sure.
”Fenway’s tricky — it looks like it’s not that far of a home run because it only goes right over the bullpen,” Saltalamacchia said. ”It’s still a far shot, so it’s tricky but over the Ted Williams seat for sure.”
Even after two intentional walks, Stanton extended his major-league-leading RBI total with his walk-off grand slam on Friday night.
If Stanton, who has six homers and 26 RBI, continues on his torrid streak, teams will likely pitch around him even more. Clubs have done that three times this week.
The cleanup batter will be crucial in the coming weeks. Options include first baseman Garrett Jones, third baseman Casey McGehee and switch-hitting Saltalamacchia.
Jones sat Saturday night’s game with southpaw Roenis Elias on the mound. Jones is batting just .231 with two homers and eight RBI.
McGehee has been consistent through 17 games, posting a .302 average with a triple and 14 RBI. He and Stanton have combined for 40 runs driven in — the most between any two teammates in the big leagues.
Saltalamacchia has reached base in 11 of 12 games since April 4. His .468 on-base percentage ranks fourth in the National League.
”The key is to get guys on base in front of him and then really if that starts happening we’re going to rely heavily on the guys hitting behind him to get those big hits to drive in those runs,” Redmond said. ”I like the guys that we have. I think they’ve done a nice job behind him. We’ll see how that plays out.”
— Right-hander Jacob Turner will start a rehab assignment on Wednesday in Jupiter, Fla. Turner, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain, will throw 50-55 pitches.
— Second baseman Rafael Furcal will continue his extended spring training Monday with Double-A Jacksonville.