MIAMI -- The Marlins forced extra innings on Opening Day by hitting Francisco Rodriguez hard in his debut as Tigers closer. The Marlins kept the game tied with a bizarre hard bounce off the backstop and an easy out on the basepaths after their closer walked the bases loaded.A.J. Ramos
MIAMI -- The Marlins forced extra innings on Opening Day by hitting Francisco Rodriguez hard in his debut as Tigers closer. The Marlins kept the game tied with a bizarre hard bounce off the backstop and an easy out on the basepaths after their closer walked the bases loaded.
A.J. Ramos entered to face the middle of the Tigers' order in the 10th inning of Detroit's 8-7, 11-inning win. He retired Miguel Cabrera to start the inning, then walked three of the next four hitters to bring up Anthony Gose, who homered an inning earlier.
Ramos got in position for the bases-loaded strikeout, but his 0-2 pitch skipped in the dirt and through catcher J.T. Realmuto's legs, sending runners breaking. Once the ball bounced hard off the padded backstop, however, J.D. Martinez had to hold at third, sending runners behind him scrambling back. The exception was Jose Iglesias, whose jump left him closer to second base than first as Realmuto retrieved the ball and fired to first.
"Freak play," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It's very difficult to watch the ball and watch the guy in front of you at the same time."
Iglesias was caught as second baseman Dee Gordon took the throw from first baseman Justin Bour and ran with the ball to tag him. Martinez never broke for home plate, leaving Iglesias trying to dodge a tag as the threat ended.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the rundown was executed perfectly.
"A lot of times you'll see guys run around," Mattingly said. "You can stop the game at that point. They have nowhere to go. There is no reason for us to have to rush. So Dee can walk him to second. If that guy wants to take off, then you walk the guy to third. Basically, you get the other guy in the last rundown. It's basically the way you should handle it. You don't see it handled like that very much, but I was glad Dee got the ball instead of J.B. [Bour] trying to run that thing."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.