Speedy Dyson changes game with bunt single
Mariners outfielder breaks up perfect game, atones for throwing error
SEATTLE -- With Justin Verlander's perfect game still intact in the sixth inning of the Mariners' 7-5 win over the Tigers, Jarrod Dyson laid down a perfect bunt to first base to break it up. Verlander, unable to lunge over and make a play, walked back to the mound visibly frustrated.
Did Dyson break one of baseball's so-called "unwritten rules" by bunting in that situation? He doesn't think so. He said he just simply did his job.
"I'm sure [Verlander didn't] like it," he said. "But at the same time, he was comfortable on the mound. He about blew our whole lineup away. Right there, we aren't going to keep swinging like that. I'm going to play my game, so I tried to lay down a bunt and get him off the mound."
Verlander didn't take any offense.
"It was a perfect bunt," Verlander said. "That's part of his game. I don't think it was quite too late, given the situation, to bunt, especially being as how that's a major part of what he does. I really didn't have any issues with it. It's not like I got upset about it."
Bunting is something Dyson successfully does at a high level, as the fleet outfielder is tied for the MLB lead with Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon for bunt singles, with six. Dyson's foot speed plays a big part in that; he holds five of the top 25 fastest home-to-first times among MLB players this season, according to Statcast™. His time of 3.7 seconds on Wednesday was his fifth-fastest of the season.
Placing Dyson on base and forcing Verlander into the stretch also energized the Mariners' offense. A walk, two singles and a double followed, turning into three Mariners' runs and chasing Verlander from the game.
Dyson is deemed a hero for breaking up the perfect game, but with how the game progressed before that, he could have been in line to take some of the blame in a lopsided loss. With no outs in the sixth inning, Dyson airmailed a throw to second base into the Tigers' dugout in an attempt to throw out Jose Cabrera. The throwing error allowed Detroit to advance two runners into scoring position and outfielder Justin Upton cashed them in with a two-run single to extend the Tigers' lead to four.
"I tried to rush the throw and it just two-seamed on me," Dyson said. "I was pretty upset about that."
Even though Dyson is still kicking himself for the throwing error, his first of the season, the Mariners' offense likely forgives him after his timely bunt.
"Against a guy pitching like that, four runs feels like a lot," Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz said. "But when Dyson got on, we found a way to get it done after that. … We were talking about just needing to get a guy on to change the way he was pitching."