Marlins fall on intentional-walk wild pitch
It happened to Steve Cishek before, but never in this kind of situation.
Once while pitching for Single-A Jupiter in the midst of an intentional walk, Cishek let loose with a wild toss that went to the backstop.
But no damage came out of that wild pitch, unlike Sunday night when the Florida reliever saw it happen again and let Seattle's Dustin Ackley score the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of the Mariners 2-1 win over the Marlins.
Cishek had completed two tosses already to Carlos Peguero with the intent on putting runners at the corners in the hopes of an inning-ending double play.
But the third pitch home sliced well wide of catcher John Buck and Ackley was able to score what turned out to be the winning run.
''All I have to do is hit him in the chest and somehow it got away from me,'' Cishek said. ''It's really tough to lose that way.''
It was just another notch in the Marlins terrible June that's seen former manager Edwin Rodriguez resign, 80-year-old Jack McKeon take over the club, and now the strangest of losses that dropped Florida's record this month to 3-22.
''I have never had it happen to me in 60 years. I've seen it on television, but never had it against me or for me,'' McKeon said of the finish. ''On an intentional walk to start with, that's what I'm talking about. Sure as heck I know he didn't want to do that.''
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, sliced the third pitch well out of Buck's reach. The ball immediately bounced back to Buck, but Ackley slid home just ahead of the throw.
''There can't be too many other ways, right?'' Buck said of the loss. ''Well, we've got that one crossed off the list. Hopefully that will be it.''
Seattle reliever David Pauley (5-1) pitched a perfect ninth inning before turning it over to Brandon 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.
The Marlins offense struggled to get anything going against Seattle's starter Doug Fister but was able to put together a small rally in the eighth and force extra innings.
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 score Lopez and pull the Marlins even at 1.
Seattle threatened in the top of the ninth putting two runners on with two outs against Florida closer Leo Nunez, but Justin Smoak popped out to end the threat.
Florida starter Anibal Sanchez pitched well and was able to avoid an end to his current six-game winning streak. Sanchez hasn't lost since his second start of the season against Houston on April 10, although the Marlins have lost three of his last four starts.
He was forced out after six innings and 107 pitches. Sanchez struck out six and walked one, and gave up a fifth-inning double to Fister, who came around and scored on Brendan Ryan's single for Seattle's first run. Seattle was just 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.
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. Manager Jack 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.