The Miami Marlins rallied against reliever Tom Wilhelmsen in a nightmarish eighth inning for two runs on one hit, two walks, a fielder’s choice, an overturned call at the plate and a sacrifice fly to defeat the Mariners 3-2 Sunday and extend Seattle’s losing streak to a season-high six games.
The Mariners (7-11), sinking six games behind the Oakland A’s in the AL West, concluded a seven-game road trip 1-6, including two walk-off losses and two blankings. The Mariners have scored 10 runs in their past 80 innings, have lost eight of 10 and are 4-11 since opening the season 3-0.
The Mariners had two major chances Sunday to reverse their misfortunes when they took a 2-1 lead, manufactured with sacrifice flies by Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley in the first and fourth innings, into the Miami eighth. But reliever Charlie Furbush opened the doorway to doom when he yielded a leadoff double to Christian Yelich, whose jolt to deep left chased Furbush.
Wilhelmsen entered and got Marcell Ouna on a fly ball and then intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton, rather than give the 6-foot-6, 245-pound slugger the opportunity to crush the Mariners with a shot as he did Friday night. Wilhelmsen didn’t intend to walk Casey McGeehe, but did, placing Miami runners at second and third with one out.
Garrett Jones then hit a ground ball to Smoak at first. Smoak momentarily bobbled the ball before throwing to catcher Joe Buck, who caught it a split-second late as Yelich slid across the plate. The umpires ruled Yelich out, but a review overturned the call, enabling the Marlins to tie the score. With the bases loaded and one out, Adeiny Hechavarria hit a sac fly that scored the winning run.
“Smoak just didn’t get the ball out of his glove, that was the problem,” manager Lloyd McClendon said at the overturned play. “I knew the replay was coming and it was close.”
“I fielded it and threw it, and it was bang-bang and he (Yelich) just snuck in there,” said Smoak. “I fielded the ball and made a good throw, and he just beat it. Now we’ve got to come back tomorrow, get better and do it again.”
The Mariners had a chance to tie the score in the ninth after Corey Hart led off with a double to right. Seattle eventually placed runners at the corners with one out, but closer Steve Chisek fannedNick Franklin and pinch-hitter Michael Saunders to send the battered Mariners into a six-hour, 15-minute plane ride home. They went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
“That’s what happens when you are on a losing streak,” said McClendon. “It was a great game and we had opportunities to get things done, but could not do it. We’ll keep searching and working and hopefully we will get it right tomorrow night. Our guys are going out and playing hard, but we just haven’t been able to get over the hump the last six games.”
Mariners starter Brandon Maurer, making his 2014 debut, sailed through four innings without incident, but ran out of steam and lost his command. That led to Miami’s first run. After Jones reached on an infield single to open the fifth, Donovan Solano drove him home.
Maurer worked 4.1 innings, allowing one run on two hits with four strikeout and two walks.
“He did a good job,” McClendon said. “He just got tired.”
The Mariners had a major scoring opportunity in the seventh when they loaded the bases with two outs. But Marlins reliever Carlos Marmol fanned pinch hitter Kyle Seager on three pitches.
NOTES: To make room on the roster for Maurer, the Mariners optioned OF James Jones back to the Rainiers. Jones, 25, went 1-for-1 in his major league debut April 18 at Miami . . . Robinson Cano, 4-for-25 on the trip entering the series, went 2-for-4 and scored a run, lifting his average from .254 to .268 . . . Hart had two hits and is batting .269 . . . Franklin received the start at third in place of Seager, and went 0-for-3 . . . McClendon used every reliever he had except closer Fernando Rodney, who was throwing in the bullpen when the game ended.
NEXT: The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday night for three-game series with the Houston Astros. After a day off Thursday, the Mariners host the Texas Rangers for three. Felix Hernandez (3-0, 1.91) will throw for Seattle Monday opposite LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-1, 3.50). Hernandez is 2-1, 2.00 ERA in three career starts spanning 18.0 innings against the Astros. Keuchel is 0-2, 2.40 in two career starts against the Mariners.