Marlins rally past Mariners in series finale
Tying run scores in eighth after call overturned; Cishek holds on in 9th
MIAMI -- Marlins manager Mike Redmond is becoming good at winning replay challenges. He was 2-for-2 this weekend.
The Marlins challenged a game-changing call and won their appeal for the second time in three games on Sunday afternoon, helping to rally them to a a three-game sweep of Seattle.
Christian Yelich extended his hitting streak to 14 games by sparking the eighth-inning rally as the Marlins defeated the Mariners, 3-2, in front of 20,228 at Marlins Park, securing the Marlins' third consecutive victory and a 4-2 homestand.
In the bottom of the eighth, Yelich led off with a double, then Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen walked Giancarlo Stanton intentionally with one out before walking Casey McGehee unintentionally to load the bases.
Garrett Jones followed with a grounder to first, with Justin Smoak throwing home to force Yelich, with home-plate umpire Ed Hickox ruling Yelich out. Redmond immediately came out and challenged the call, and after a replay review, the call was overturned and Yelich was ruled safe with the tying run.
"They got it right," Redmond said of the umpires' reversed call. "It's worked out well for us this weekend."
Adeiny Hechavarria's sacrifice fly to right then scored Stanton with the go-ahead run and Steve Cishek preserved the win with his 32nd consecutive save by striking out the final two batters with the potential tying run at third.
Redmond and the Marlins also won a challenge on a call at third base during Friday night's game, which Miami won 8-4 on a walk-off grand slam by Stanton. While Friday's review and subsequent reversal stirred talk of a change regarding the ball transfer rule, there was little doubt in Yelich's mind that he beat the throw home from Smoak on Sunday.
"I felt I beat it from the get-go," said Yelich, who was 1-for-4 and scored his 15th run this season, tied with Stanton for the team lead. "That was a huge win for us. Winning the game is bigger than [keeping the hitting streak intact]."
Finishing the homestand on such a positive note was especially pleasing for Redmond, whose team has rebounded from an eight-game losing streak.
"It's not easy to sweep in the big leagues," Redmond said. "We lost a tough series to the Nationals, but we bounced back and won a sweep. It's fun to get a sweep."
For a while Sunday, a sweep did not look like it was in the cards for the Marlins, before the drama-filled eighth inning.
Following back-to-back wins in which Miami scored a combined 15 runs, the Marlins struggled against Seattle pitching in the series finale.
The Marlins had a tough time figuring out Seattle starter Brandon Maurer, who was making his 2014 debut.
Maurer did not allow a hit until the fifth inning, when Jones reached on an infield single with one out. Up to that point, Maurer had faced the minimum 13 batters through 4 1/3 innings.
Maurer then walked Hechavarria and Donovan Solano delivered a single to right that scored Jones for the Marlins' first run and sliced Seattle's lead to 2-1. That was it for the right-hander, who left after throwing 63 pitches.
Dominic Leone relieved Maurer and got out of the jam, striking out Jeff Mathis and retiring Reed Johnson, who was pinch-hitting for Marlins starter Kevin Slowey, on a groundout to short.
Miami had runners on the corners in the sixth, but the Mariners escaped again when a hard-hit ball by Jones was deflected by Smoak and fielded by second baseman Robinson Cano, who fired to first to pitcher Joe Beimel covering for the third out.
Seattle, which was shut out by Henderson Alvarez on Saturday night, struck first when cleanup hitter Corey Hart led off the second inning with a double, advanced to third on a groundout to second by Dustin Ackley and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Smoak to take a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners threatened again in the third when John Buck led off with a single and went to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, but Slowey thwarted the threat by inducing Willie Bloomquist to fly out to left for the third out.
The Mariners didn't waste another scoring opportunity in the third, however. Cano led off with a double, went to third on a long fly to right-center by Hart and scored a sacrifice fly to center by Ackley to take a 2-0 lead.
Slowey had a commendable outing, considering this was his first start since last July 8. The right-hander gave up two earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts in five innings of work, throwing 57 pitches, 42 for strikes.
"Kevin Slowey did a great job," Redmond said. "He kept us in the game. That's what we want."
The Mariners threatened to break open the game in the top of the seventh when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Marlins reliever Carlos Marmol struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Seager to end the threat and maintain a one-run deficit.