June 26, 2011 in Sports

Intentional walk wild pitch gives M’s win

Tim Booth Associated Press
 

SEATTLE — Rookie Dustin Ackley led off the top of the 10th inning with a double, then raced home with the go-ahead run when Florida reliever Steve Cishek threw a wild pitch during an intentional walk giving the Seattle Mariners a wacky 2-1 win over the Marlins on Sunday night.

The Marlins and Mariners closed out their unique interleague series in which the Marlins were the home team in Seattle’s ballpark, with the latest Sunday night start in Safeco Field history, another pitchers’ duel and one strange finish.

Ackley started the 10th by lining a 2-1 pitch from Randy Choate (0-1) the opposite way into the left-field corner, his first career double and his third hit of the night.

Cishek entered and Miguel Olivo hit a fly ball deep enough to left-center that Ackley was able to race to third ahead of Logan Morrison’s throw.

Cishek had thrown two wide ones to Peguero before slicing one well out of catcher John Buck’s reach and Ackley slid home just ahead of the throw.

Seattle reliever David Pauley (5-1) pitched a perfect ninth inning before turning it over to Brandon League in the 10th. League gave up a one-out single to Buck, but got a groundout by Wes Helms and pop out by Omar Infante for his American League-leading 21st save in 24 chances.

Seattle took two of three from the Marlins and moved back within 1 1-2 games of Texas in the AL West.

The conclusion of the night was odd in every sense. Ackley’s run didn’t end the game, Peguero was ahead 3-0 in the count against Cishek but eventually struck out, and League had to pitch the bottom of an inning at home to get the save.

But this one should have been decided long before the 10th. Seattle left runners on in every inning, but managed only Brendan Ryan’s RBI single in the fifth that scored starting pitcher Doug Fister, who had doubled with one out.

No offensive stumble was worse than in the ninth, when Mike Carp worked a leadoff walk from Marlins closer Leo Nunez when a 3-2 pitch missed low. Chone Figgins pinch-ran, but was left at first base when Ichiro Suzuki failed twice to get a sacrifice bunt down in fair territory and then fouled out to third base.

Ryan followed with a foul out to first base. Adam Kennedy walked on four pitches to move Figgins into scoring position, but Justin Smoak popped out to second to end the chance.

That was just the most egregious. Ackley was left at third base in the fourth inning after a one-out triple, part of a night where Seattle was just 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 on base.

For the second straight outing, Fister entered the eighth inning in position to snap his winless streak dating to May 30 only to see it crumble. In his last start against Washington, Fister left after eight with a 5-1 lead, only to see the Mariners bullpen meltdown in the ninth and lose 6-5.

This time, it was one at-bat to Infante and too many fastballs. Pinch-hitter and former Mariner Jose Lopez singled with one out in the eighth and advanced to second on Emilio Bonifacio’s sacrifice bunt. Fister and Infante then went 12 pitches deep, with Infante fouling off eight straight, seven of which were fastballs, before he doubled into the left-field corner on the 12th pitch — also a fastball — to pull the Marlins even at 1.

Fister’s night ended when he was hit for in the top of the ninth. He gave up eight hits and one earned run, struck out three and walked none.

He came into Sunday’s start with the lowest average run support of any starter in the American League at 2.46 with the Mariners scoring two or fewer runs in 11 of his 15 starts.

Fister doubled in the fifth, then scored on Ryan’s one-out single for the first run scored by a Mariners pitcher since June 2009.

Florida starter Anibal Sanchez pitched well and hasn’t lost since his second start of the season against Houston on April 10. The Marlins have lost three of his last four starts, though.

He was forced out after six innings and 107 pitches. Sanchez struck out six and walked one.

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