MIAMI — Heading into the ninth inning of Monday night’s 3-1 loss to the New York Mets, the Miami Marlins had a good chance to make history.
When the frame started at 8:48 p.m., the Marlins were three outs away from the quickest game in their 23-year existence. On Sept. 20, 2010, the Marlins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 in a matchup that lasted just 1:52.
Mets righty Dillon Gee needed an eye-opening 59 pitches through seven innings, while Marlins righty Jarred Cosart kept pace with eight scoreless.
"It was like artwork," closer Steve Cishek said of the pitcher’s duel. "They were just painting."
Miami chased Gee with three straight hits and a run in the eighth, but Cishek gave up the lead in the ninth on Daniel Murphy’s three-run homer. By game’s end the final time ran six minutes longer than the record.
Manager Mike Redmond couldn’t recall ever playing a game that went by so quickly. To put the pace into perspective, baseball venues stop serving alcohol after the seventh inning. That happened on Monday by 8:31 p.m.
"I remember playing a few quick ones in Minnesota when I was there (from 2005-09) with our pitching staff there, but I don’t know," Redmond said. "That was pretty quick. It had a little bit feel of last day of spring training or of the season. Everybody was throwing strikes. A lot of strikes and a lot of swings and just misses. And then all the action happened at the end."
Cishek is now 1 for 3 in save situations this season. After four straight shutout outings, he surrendered the decisive three-run blast to Murphy.
When asked how he approached Cishek in the clubhouse prior to Tuesday’s game, Redmond said by encouraging him and hoping to get him back on the mound for another opportunity.
"Just pat him on the back and, ‘Let’s get you back in there tonight,’" Redmond said. "There’s nothing else you can say. When something doesn’t go right for a player — whether it’s a position player or pitcher — you don’t have to remind him. Believe me. These guys have so much pride in their game. They all want to win. They understand what’s at stake, but not only for us as a team but for everybody."
His velocity also appeared to be down during the blown save, hovering in the upper 80s and 90 mph. But Cishek said the same thing happened last year before it kicked back up a month-and-a-half into the season. He cited his arm slot as the reason.
Cishek also hasn’t pitched much through the first 19 games, making just seven appearances and tossing 6 1/3 innings. He didn’t collect his first save until Friday. It’s similar to his workload at the beginning of last season when Cishek only threw 8 2/3 frames in April.
Miami’s full-time closer since taking over for Heath Bell in 2012 is typically more successful when he pitches regularly.
"It’s been tough," Redmond said. "We haven’t been able to get him in these games these first few weeks to get consistent work. … I think he just needs to keep pitching. We need to keep getting him out there. Use him four to five nights. It would be great to get on a little streak of getting him out there saving games."
Worth noting — Right-hander Jose Fernandez, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, took batting practice for the first time since the May 2014 procedure. He hit a round of BP with the other Marlins starters. Fernandez is scheduled to throw batting practice on Thursday.