For the Miami Marlins, two things come close: right-hander Steve Cishek recording the save and infielder Donovan Solano making the defensive play.
Both instances didn’t come through Thursday night, as the Marlins gave up a ninth-inning lead in a 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park.
In the decisive ninth, Cishek walked the leadoff batter — pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. — on four pitches. After Cody Asche flied out to right, Gwynn Jr. got from first to third on Ben Revere’s single. He had been moving on the pitch. Revere then stole a base to put a pair of runners in scoring position.
"You walk the leadoff guy," manager Mike Redmond said. "After that, I don’t think it really matters."
With the infield in, Jimmy Rollins chopped a ball that Solano had to go to his right for at second base. His throw home wasn’t in time, leaving runners were on the corners with one out. Chase Utley followed by hitting a grounder to Solano that he bobbled before collecting and throwing to first for the second out. That permitted the go-ahead run to score.
"He’s trying to keep us in a winning position," Cishek said. "He’s a competitor. I like that play and the double-play ball nine times out of 10 he makes it. We all have all the confidence in the world in him. We know if it happened again he would be right there and bounce back. He’s a great ballplayer."
Cishek entered the game 18 of 19 in save opportunities. His only other blown save came April 25 in New York against the Mets. Since then, he had saved 14 in a row. Including last season, he has closed out 52 of 56 chances for one of the top marks in the majors.
Solano, who won Miami’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013, as voted on by Wilson, posted a .983 fielding percentage at second. That honor also took into account criteria such as defensive wins above replacement and defensive runs saved.
Through 23 games combined between second, short and third in 2014, he has yet to make a miscue. Though neither play was ruled an error, they were uncharacteristic of Solano’s usually solid glovework.
"In the heat of the battle sometimes you have a split second to make a decision," Redmond said. "That’s the way it goes. … It’s hard to say (if it would’ve been a double play). Like I said we walked the leadoff guy. Once you do that. They have speed and you put those guys on the bases it puts everybody on edge. I think you saw that."
The Marlins were unable to capture their first three-game series sweep since beating the Mets May 5-7. Philadelphia had dropped six in a row and looked destined for seven.
Miami (41-44) now sits six games behind the Atlanta Braves (47-38) in the National League East. Atlanta has won seven straight, while the second-place Washington Nationals (46-38) have five consecutive victories. The Marlins embark on a nine-game roadtrip before the All-Star break.
"We had it right there," Cishek said. "We were down pressing for first place, trying to get up there in the division. Can’t have that happen. It’s tough."