May 20, 2011 in Sports

Mariners catch a break on fly ball lost in sun

Tim Booth Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Angels center fielder Torii Hunter loses Carlos Peguero’s fly ball in the sun in the ninth, allowing the winning run to score.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE – Jack Cust saw the ball come off Carlos Peguero’s bat and thought at the very least he should touch home plate considering there were two outs in the ninth inning, even if Peguero’s fly ball likely meant extra innings.

Then when the most unlikely of events happened, especially with a nine-time Gold Glove winner standing in center field, Seattle’s designated hitter went back and tapped the plate one more time as the winning run, just to be sure.

No need to add any more wackiness to an already unusual ending.

Peguero’s fly ball would have sent the game to the 10th inning on Thursday afternoon. But Los Angeles center fielder Torii Hunter could not track the ball and it fell onto the outfield grass, giving the Mariners an unlikely sun-aided 2-1 win over the Angels.

Seattle used a check-swing infield single by Cust off Angels reliever Scott Downs (1-1), a sacrifice bunt by Adam Kennedy and Peguero’s single to take both games of the brief two-game set with the Angels and hand Los Angeles a fifth straight loss.

And it’ll be remembered as one of the oddest endings with which either team has been associated.

“I saw it off the bat and ran after it till its highest point and didn’t see it anymore. I just battled, tried to find it, stand there as long as I could, put my glove where I thought it would fall in,” Hunter said. “I just couldn’t see it. You can’t catch what you can’t see.”

David Pauley (2-0) got the win for Seattle, pitching the ninth inning after Doug Fister went eight innings and continued a run of impressive performances by the Mariners’ starting rotation. Fister went eight innings, giving up six hits and one run.

In its brief four-game homestand, Seattle’s starters were brilliant. Michael Pineda, Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas and Fister all worked at least seven innings – 30 total between the foursome – and allowed a combined three earned runs. In 15 games this month, Mariners starters have gone at least seven innings 11 times.

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