July 3, 2011 in Sports

Mariners find new way to lose game for hard-luck Fister

Tim Booth Associated Press
 

SEATTLE – Cameron Maybin looked up, saw a full count on the scoreboard and figured like everyone else in the ballpark that he should be headed to first base.

Problem was, Maybin was trotting down to first after just three balls from Doug Fister, and no one picked up on the mistake.

“I thought it was a full count, like everybody else in the park. Turned out to be a big play,” Maybin said. “It was a crazy play. I’ve never been a part of something like that. It worked out in our advantage, so we’ll take it.”

Maybin walked after just three balls were thrown by Fister and came around to score the only run of the game on Antonio Gonzalez’s single, sending the San Diego Padres past the Seattle Mariners 1-0 on Saturday night.

With one out in the fifth, Maybin walked when a pitch was called high by home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi. A video review of the at-bat by official scorer Dan Peterson confirmed the count should have been 3-2 when Maybin walked.

No argument was made by anyone on the field and the stadium scoreboard showed a three-ball count before Fister (3-9) delivered the pitch.

After the game, the umpiring crew huddled, reviewed the tape and agreed Maybin should not have walked. Crew chief Tom Hallion said Cuzzi’s hand indicator had the count at 2-2, but he noted the stadium scoreboard read 3-2 before Fister’s pitch missed high.

“My plate umpire thought his count was wrong. The scoreboard had 3-2 and he thought he was wrong because when Maybin took off for first, nobody said anything,” Hallion said. “The catcher didn’t react, the dugout didn’t react so he thought he had the wrong count.

“Do we feel bad? Absolutely. We count the pitches and it was just one of those things that gets away with you with the scoreboard having the 3-2 count up there and then nothing being said by anybody, he thought he had the wrong count.”

The missed count became an issue when Maybin scored on Gonzalez’s hard one-hopper that skipped off shortstop Brendan Ryan’s glove and into left field, and Seattle failed to mount any sort of offense against spot starter Cory Luebke.

“At the end of the day it’s easy to sit there and point fingers at people but we’ve got to score runs,” Seattle catcher Josh Bard said.

Luebke (2-2) allowed two hits in six innings, and Chad Qualls, Mike Adams and Heath Bell each got three outs to complete the two-hitter. Bell earned his 24th save in 25 chances.

But all the attention was on Maybin’s strange at-bat.

Maybin fell behind 0-2, then fouled off a pitch before Fister missed to make the count 1-2. Maybin fouled off another before Fister missed with a curveball in the dirt. The count both in the stadium and on the television broadcast showed 3-2 and the next pitch missed high with Maybin walking to first base and no one making an argument.

“You have an at-bat full of pitches, you see pitches, foul off a couple,” Maybin said. “Sometimes you get lost so you look up there – that’s what those big numbers that say ball, strike are there for. So I looked up there and saw three balls, two strikes so on that last pitch I was assuming that was, ‘take your base.’ ”

Rookie Beavan to start today

Right-hander Blake Beavan is being called up from Class AAA Tacoma and will make his major league debut today when he starts against the Padres.

With Erik Bedard on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained left knee, the Mariners chose Beavan over fellow Tacoma starter Luke French.

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