Mariners' rally in ninth falls short in finale
Potential tying run stranded at third; Overturned call aids Miami in 8th
MIAMI -- Two crucial overturned calls. Deep flyouts in a spacious ballpark. A highlight-reel play by the opposing team's shortstop to save the tying run.
Those are just a few of the things that go wrong during a season-long six-game skid.
The Mariners allowed a one-run lead to disappear in the eighth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Marlins to conclude their road trip on Sunday afternoon in front of 20,228 at Marlins Park.
There will be plenty to think about during the six-hour-long flight back to the Emerald City for a six-game homestand that begins Monday night against Houston at Safeco Field.
"That's what happens when you have a losing streak, but the only way we're going to come out of it is if our guys step up," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "It was a great game, but we had opportunities to get some things done and we didn't do it. Keep searching, keep working and hopefully get it right [Monday] night. Our guys are going out and playing hard, we just haven't gotten over the hump in the last six days."
In the decisive eighth, Miami scored a pair of runs on just one hit.
Lefty Charlie Furbush surrendered a leadoff double to Christian Yelich. Righty Tom Wilhelmsen (0-1) got Marcell Ozuna to fly out to left before intentionally walking Giancarlo Stanton and issuing a free pass to Casey McGehee.
Garrett Jones swung at the first pitch and grounded into a fielder's choice when first baseman Justin Smoak threw home. Yelich was initially ruled out, but the call was challenged by Marlins manager Mike Redmond and overturned when replays showed Yelich beat the throw.
"I couldn't see the ball, but I could hear it, and I could see where I was over the plate," Yelich said. "[The umpires] took a long look at it. I thought it was definitive, but maybe they thought my foot was a little raised over the plate before it touched down."
Adeiny Hechavarria followed with a sacrifice fly to right to drive in the go-ahead run.
Seattle had a chance to tie it in the ninth against Marlins closer Steve Cishek, but like much of the series, it failed to collect the clutch hit.
Corey Hart led off with a double and pinch-runner Brad Miller advanced to third with one out on Dustin Ackley's groundout. Hechavarria made a diving grab on the ball up the middle. After Smoak walked to put runners at the corners, Nick Franklin and pinch-hitter Michael Saunders struck out to end the game.
"Late there we had a chance," said Smoak, who went 1-for-2. "It's tough with the sun and shade there. The guy was throwing a black ball there. It was battle mode."
The American League's worst team when it comes to sacrifice flies manufactured both its early runs on a pair of them against Kevin Slowey in the second and fourth innings.
Hart doubled to left-center with one out in the second, moved to third on Ackley's groundout to second and scored on Smoak's sac fly to right for his team-leading 10th RBI. In the fourth, Robinson Cano led off with a double and advanced to third on Hart's flyout to right-center. Ackley sent a 1-2 pitch deep enough to center for Cano.
Right-hander Brandon Maurer, who was called up to make the start with James Paxton and Blake Beavan on the disabled list, had a no-hitter through four innings in his 2014 debut.
Jones' infield single broke up the no-no with one out in the fifth as the defense lined up for a shift against the pull-happy lefty. Maurer proceeded to walk Hechavarria. Donovan Solano's RBI single to center chased Maurer after 63 pitches.
Until the fifth, Maurer's lone blemish was a one-out walk to Ozuna in the first. Stanton's double play allowed him to face the minimum over four frames.
"Fatigue hit at the point. Mechanics lost a little there," said Maurer, who is rebuilding his arm strength after a back injury. "Felt good through the first four. ... I wish I would've gone a little longer, but I did what I could get done."
Righty Dominic Leone stranded runners at the corners by striking Jeff Mathis out swinging and inducing a groundout to short off the bat of pinch-hitter Reed Johnson.
The Mariners were unable to tack on insurance runs during a two-out rally in the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs, which proved to be costly.
Smoak singled, while both Franklin and John Buck walked against Dan Jennings. Carlos Marmol struck pinch-hitter Kyle Seager out swinging to end the threat.
An anemic offense that entered Sunday with four shutouts, including a two-hitter on Saturday, stranded six men. The Mariners actually outhit the Marlins, 6-4. They have scored a run in just 10 of their last 81 frames.
It marked the third time in 10 games Seattle has dropped a game when leading after seven innings. The club has lost nine of 10 when scoring fewer than four runs.
"We know what we have here," said Wilhelmsen, who gave up a run on no hits and two walks. "The chemistry we've got going. It's just a little bump in the road. We'll get through it. It's a long season."