Sometimes a brief moment of hesitation can make all the difference — and it did for Henderson Alvarez on Saturday night.
Had the Marlins’ starting pitcher not taken an extra second to watch Logan Morrison make a backhanded grab, he might have made it over to first base earlier to receive a flip for the final out of the fourth inning.
Instead, Pablo Sandoval slid and narrowly beat a sliding Morrison to the bag, the inning lived on, and the Giants tacked on three more runs after that, putting the Marlins on the wrong side of a 6-4 defeat at Marlins Park.
“We kind of gave that one away, and I haven’t said that too often this year,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
“Henderson definitely was late getting off the mound. But he did make up the ground. But I think once LoMo saw he was late, he just put his head down and decided to see if he could beat him to the bag. Henderson did look like he made it over there in time. But on that play you only have a split second to decide. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us.”
A night after combining with the Marlins (46-75) for a stadium-record 35 hits and 24 runs in a 14-10 victory, the defending World Series champions needed only five hits to beat Miami for the second consecutive night.
Giants starter Matt Cain (8-8) made one mistake, serving up a whopping two-run home run to Giancarlo Stanton in the sixth inning after he thought he had struck the Marlins’ slugger out. Cain did fine otherwise.
He got out of a bases loaded, two-out jam in the fourth by making a nifty catch to stop Adeiny Hechavarria’s screamer back to the mound, and he scattered four hits over seven innings to pick up his third victory since the All-Star break.
Alvarez, who went seven innings and gave up four hits, four walks and four earned runs, never recovered from his mental mistake.
Home-plate umpire David Rackley called Alvarez for a balk on a pickoff attempt moments after the dangerously close play at first.
Two batters later, Gregor Blanco ripped a two-run triple just past a lunging Jake Marisnick in center to double the Giants’ lead.
San Francisco (55-67) then took advantage of four walks by the Marlins’ bullpen — three by A.J. Ramos and another by Mike Dunn — to plate two big insurance runs in the eighth.
Stanton, who hadn’t homered since July 28 (a span of 59 at-bats), crushed his longest home run of the season — an estimated 446 feet, according to Marlins officials. The ball, which landed near the Budweiser bar in left-center field, trimmed the Giants’ lead to 4-2 in the sixth.
Morrison later stroked a two-run double down the first-base line off Giants reliever Sergio Casilla in the eighth. But it only trimmed the Giants’ four-run lead in half.
• Hype over Monday night’s showdown between National League Rookie of the Year candidates and Cuban-born stars Yasiel Puig and Jose Fernandez was already seeping into the Marlins’ clubhouse before Saturday’s game.
“I’m not facing Yasiel Puig on Monday,” Fernandez said, correcting a local Spanish station TV reporter. “I’m facing a good [Dodgers] lineup.”
• Third baseman Placido Polanco said Saturday he is still “a little off balance” after being hit in the back of the head by a fastball in the eighth inning Friday. Redmond said he is hopeful that Polanco might be available Sunday, but he is not rushing him back.
• After crushing his first two home runs and driving in four runs Friday night, Justin Ruggiano was back on the Marlins’ bench Saturday. But he didn’t make much of it.
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (3-8, 4.62 ERA) vs. San Francisco Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner (11-7, 2.73), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Monday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (8-5, 2.45) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jun Ryu (12-3, 2.91), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: Koehler picked up his first career win against the Giants in June, holding them to one run on three hits over seven innings. Bumgarner is 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA in three career starts against the Marlins. This is the first time he is facing them this season.