The Marlins are reaping rewards in the form of wins from baseball’s new replay rules. For the second time in three days, the Marlins on Sunday benefited from a replay decision that led directly to a victory — not to mention a series sweep over the Seattle Mariners.
“It’s worked out well for us,” manager Mike Redmond acknowledged following a 3-2 victory in which the Marlins scored the tying run after an out call at the plate was overturned in the eighth.
The Marlins won the first game of the series on Friday after a call was overturned in Miami’s favor just before Giancarlo Stanton crushed a game-winning grand slam in the ninth.
On Sunday, with the bases loaded and the Marlins trailing 2-1, Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak fielded Garrett Jones’ ground ball and threw home for the force as Christian Yelich slid across the plate. Home plate umpire Ed Hickox signaled out.
But Redmond was convinced Yelich was safe before the team’s replay staff even had a chance to take a look at the call and was out of the dugout in the flash of an eye.
“Just from looking at it initially, he looked safe to me,” Redmond said.
After replay officials in New York had a chance to examine the play, they concurred and the call was overturned, much to the delight of a crowd of 20,228. Yelich was safe and, one batter later, Adeiny Hechavarria drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
“If we didn’t have replay right there, it’s a 2-1 game and we’ve got two outs,” Yelich said. “So it was huge. It was a big one for us.”
Victory still didn’t come easily for the Marlins.
Steve Cishek took over in the ninth, bidding for his 32nd consecutive save and the Marlins’ first sweep of the season.
But he gave up a bloop double to Corey Hart to start the inning and needed an outstanding defensive play by Hechavarria to keep his streak intact.
Hechavarria robbed Dustin Ackley of a potential game-tying single up the middle with his fancy glove work, and Cishek struck out Nick Franklin and pinch-hitter Michael Saunders to preserve the win.
“That was only the first out of the inning,” a relieved Cishek said of Hechavarria’s defensive gem. “But I was trying my best not to jump up and down. It was an unbelievable play.”
Said Redmond of Hechavarria’s defensive gem: “That was a game-saver. That’s the kind of play right there that isn’t going to show up [Monday] in the boxscore, and they’re not going to talk about that play on ESPN, probably. Everybody that was here in the ballpark today or were watching on TV, you saw that play and realized how big it was. That’s why I feel that guy is the best shortstop in the league. Not a lot of guys make that play.”
The Marlins didn’t do a lot at the plate Sunday, collecting only four hits.
But what few hits they had were timely.
Donovan Solano drove in the Marlins’ first run with a RBI single in the fifth, and Yelich led off the eighth by hitting an opposite-field double off the wall to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.
After Yelich’s double, Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen retired Marcell Ozuna on a fly ball and then walked Giancarlo Stanton intentionally — the fourth intentional walk of the series for the Marlins’ slugger.
That brought up Casey McGehee, who nursed a walk out of Wilhelmsen to load the bases. Jones then grounded to first, scoring the tying run following a little help from the new replay rules.
“I know every time they walk [Stanton], that fires up our guys behind him because they want to make them pay,” Redmond said. “Every team has that one guy that you don’t want to have beat you, and Stanton’s definitely our big power threat.”
Cishek took care of the rest, hanging on to preserve the win.
“Honestly, I wasn’t concerned about the [saves] streak,” Cishek said.
“I was concerned about the series. I wanted a sweep just like the rest of the guys, and I didn’t want to mess that up for everyone else.”