Donovan Solano, honored with the Marlins’ Defensive Player of the Year Award last season, still has yet to make an error in 2014.
But he made two plays Thursday night which cost the Marlins dearly as the Phillies rallied for two runs in the ninth off Steve Cishek and a 5-4 victory to avoid a sweep in front of 24,915 at Marlins Park.
“That’s a tough one to swallow,” manager Mike Redmond said. “That’s one you got to win.”
With one out and runners on the corners, Jimmy Rollins sent a slow chopper to Solano at second base. But instead of throwing to first for the out, Solano made an ill-advised throw home that was way too late to cut down the tying run.
Moments later, Solano bobbled what could have been an inning-ending double play, which allowed Ben Revere to cross the plate with the go-ahead run.
It all added up to Cishek’s second blown save of the season, and a disappointing ending for the Marlins, who had rallied with two runs in the bottom of the eighth off Phillies reliever Jake Kiekman to take a 4-3 lead.
But neither Cishek nor Redmond put the onus on Solano for Thursday’s loss. Redmond called Solano’s throw to the plate “a split-second decision in the heat of battle,” and said it was hard to say if he really had a shot at a double play on the next play. Cishek blamed himself.
“You can’t walk the leadoff batter [in the ninth], especially on four pitches,” Cishek said. “I didn’t even give him a chance. I just made things more difficult than they needed to be.
“[On the throw home Solano is] trying to keep us in a winning position. He’s a competitor. I like that play. And the double play ball, nine times out of 10 he makes it. We all have all the confidence in the world in him. We know if it happened again he would be right there and bounce back.”
The Marlins, heading off on a nine-game road trip before the All-Star break, seemingly bounced back in the eighth. Ed Lucas and Giancarlo Stanton started the inning with leadoff singles and came around to score on a Casey McGehee fielder’s choice and Jeff Baker’s pinch-hit RBI triple.
The Marlins (41-44) had a chance to add another insurance run. But with one out, the Phillies turned an inning-ending double play when Baker was caught in a rundown between third and home. Jarrod Saltamacchia, who sent a bouncer to third to start Baker’s rundown, was thrown out trying to advance to second on the same play.
The Marlins, who were looking for their first three-game home sweep since they brought out the brooms for the Mets back on May 7, got five solid innings from starter Brad Hand.
Back from the disabled list and a six-start rehab assignment in the minors, Hand was ahead 2-0 and in line to pick up his third major-league win before it all unraveled for him in the sixth.
He surrendered three consecutive singles to Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd to open the frame before Redmond came out to get him.
Cesar Hernandez then bounced into a fielder’s choice to plate the Phillies’ first run in 17 innings.
Reliever Chris Hatcher looked like he might get out of the jam with a 2-1 lead after he struck out Aaron Altherr on a 3-2 changeup. But Cameron Rupp smacked a 3-2 pitch from Hatcher off the right-field wall, scoring two runs and giving the Phillies the lead.
It was a tough break for Hand, who helped the Marlins build an early lead with his bat. He laid down a perfect safety squeeze in the third to score Marcell Ozuna and then another sacrifice bunt in the fifth that preceded a Christian Yelich RBI single.
“His stuff was good,” Redmond said of Hand. “Down the road we’re definitely going to hope for him to limit his pitches so he can make it through that sixth inning. But I thought overall it was a good effort by him.”