Mariners 2, Marlins 1(10)
Standing on third base, Dustin Ackley noticed right away that the throws to the plate from Florida reliever Steve Cishek were drifting a little wider than the typical tosses home for an intentional walk.
Instead of being lulled by the situation, Ackley smartly stayed alert just in case Cishek did get a little loose. And when he did, Ackley raced home with one of the strangest winning runs.
''I was pretty ready and when I saw it go by I just told my eyes run as hard as you can and hopefully I can get there,'' Ackley said.
Ackley doubled to lead off the 10th inning, the scored the go-ahead run when Cishek threw a wild pitch during an intentional walk to give the Mariners a wacky 2-1 win over the Florida Marlins on Sunday night.
The Marlins and Mariners closed out their unique interleague series in which the Marlins were the home team in Seattle's ballpark, with the latest Sunday night start in Safeco Field history, another pitchers' duel and one strange finish.
Ackley started the 10th by lining a 2-1 pitch from Randy Choate (0-1) the opposite way into the left-field corner, his first career double and his third hit of the night.
Cishek entered and Miguel Olivo hit a fly ball deep enough to left-center that Ackley was able to race to third ahead of Logan Morrison's throw.
Then came the oddity.
Cishek, a right-hander who throws from a low arm angle, had thrown two wide ones to Carlos Peguero as the Marlins planned to put runners on the corners and hope for a double play to end the inning. But Cishek's third throw sliced well out of catcher John Buck's reach. The ball immediately bounced back to Buck, but Ackley slid home just ahead of the throw.
''I have never had it happen to me, in 60 years,'' Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. ''I've seen it on television, but never had it against me or for me.''
The conclusion of the night was odd in every sense. Ackley's run didn't end the game as Florida still batted in the bottom of the 10th. Peguero was ahead 3-0 in the count against Cishek but eventually struck out. And closer Brandon League still had to pitch the bottom of an inning on his home mound to get the save.
It was also a night of firsts for Ackley, Seattle's prized prospect. The rookie continued to find ways on base and recorded the first three-hit game of his career, including a fourth-inning triple and a ball smashed down the first-base line in the eighth that should have gone for a double had it not clipped the bag before deflecting off the foot of first-base umpire Cory Blaser.
''He's quick. He's got some speed and for a young player he's got pretty good instincts,'' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ''He'll only get better the longer he's here.''
Seattle reliever David Pauley (5-1) pitched a perfect ninth inning before turning it over to League in the 10th. League gave up a one-out single to Buck, but got a groundout by Wes Helms and pop out by Omar Infante for his American League-leading 21st save in 24 chances.
Seattle took two of three from the Marlins and moved back within 1 1-2 games of Texas in the AL West.
But this one should have been decided long before extras and in favor of starter Doug Fister. Seattle left runners on in every inning, but managed only Brendan Ryan's RBI single in the fifth that scored Fister, who had doubled with one out.
For the second straight outing, Fister entered the eighth inning in position to snap his winless streak dating to May 30 only to see it crumble. In his last start against Washington, Fister left after eight with a 5-1 lead, only to see the Mariners bullpen meltdown in the ninth and lose 6-5.
This time, it was one at-bat to Infante and too many fastballs. Pinch-hitter and former Mariner Jose Lopez singled with one out in the eighth and advanced to second on Emilio Bonifacio's sacrifice bunt. Fister and Infante then went 12 pitches deep, with Infante fouling off eight straight, seven of which were fastballs, before he doubled into the left-field corner on the 12th pitch - also a fastball - to pull the Marlins even at 1.
''I felt convicted with each one of them and anything else would have been less. I've got to tip my cap to him,'' Fister said.
Fister gave up eight hits and one earned run, struck out three and walked none.
Notes: Sunday's 7:10 p.m. local start was the latest Sunday night start since Safeco Field opened. ... Attendance Sunday was 10,925 and for the three games was 43,100. The games were not part of the Mariners season tickets package. ... Marlins OF Logan Morrison was going to sit for the second straight day but pinch-hit in the eighth inning and struck out looking. McKeon was giving the struggling Morrison a couple of days off but said he plans to have Morrison back in the lineup on Tuesday in Oakland.
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