Thinking he had made a catch, Marcell Ozuna held up his glove with no ball inside.
Figuring he would beat out a bunt, Dee Gordon instead fell on his face as he raced up the line.
Assuming a menacing dark cloud nearby would bypass Marlins Park, the retractable roof remained open until it was too late, allowing rain to fall inside and prompting a 16-minute delay.
Opening Day was a day of oops for the Marlins, who dropped a 2-1 decision to the Atlanta Braves.
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“You want Opening Day to be perfect,” said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who struck out twice and grounded into a bases-loaded double play in the seventh. “It wasn’t.”
A sellout crowd of 36,969 — when it wasn’t running for cover from an unexpected rain shower that caught ballpark officials by surprise — had very little to cheer about Monday. But the Marlins provided them with plenty of reasons to shake their heads in disbelief, though.
Giancarlo Stanton was guilty of a poor base-running decision. Starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez was charged with a balk for the first time in two years. Ozuna came up empty on a sinking liner. Gordon came out of his shoes when he slipped on the wet dirt after dropping down a perfect bunt.
The mishaps began in the first inning when Alvarez was called for a balk, advancing Jace Peterson into scoring position before Nick Markakis drove him in with a single.
They didn’t end there.
With one out in the second inning for the Marlins, rain began to fall inside the ballpark. It takes 13 minutes for the retractable roof to close completely, plenty of time, in other words, for the field to become soaked.
“That was a first,” said Marlins manager Mike Redmond.
Actually, it was only a first at Marlins Park. Saltalamacchia said he remembered it happening once in Toronto in a game he played there. The mistake ended up having consequences for the Marlins.
After Gordon tied it in the third with a RBI single, he slipped on the wet ground as he took off for second and was thrown out trying to steal. It wouldn’t be the last time Monday the slick dirt cost him his footing.
In the sixth, Eric Young Jr. sent a sinking liner to center. Ozuna went down for the ball with his glove, and thought he came up with it.
“The ball went into my glove,” Ozuna said.
Believing it was still inside, Ozuna held his glove in the air to show the umpire. But unbeknownst to Ozuna, the ball had come out from behind, rolling several feet away and allowing Young to get to second.
“I saw the umpire say safe and I looked in the glove,” Ozuna said. “And then I looked back and saw it. Terrible stuff. A terrible play.”
Young advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and then scored, sliding under Saltalamacchia’s tag at the plate on a ground ball hit to second.
Then came the seventh, when Michael Morse, Martin Prado and Ozuna loaded the bases with three consecutive singles to start the inning off Braves starter Julio Teheran. The Braves brought in reliever Luis Avilan, who got Saltalmacchia to hit into a double play, and Adeiny Hechavarria fouled out to end the inning.
“It’s a big spot in the game,” Redmond said. “Despite all the stuff that happened, we had a chance to at least tie it up, and we ran into that double play, and that was about it at that point.”
Well, not quite.
Gordon dropped down a perfect bunt with one out in the eighth. But he slipped on the wet dirt as he charged up the line, fell on his stomach, and was thrown out easily.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever slipped,” Gordon said. “Most of the time I catch myself.”
But Gordon refused to blame his slippage on the failure to close the roof in time.
“It’s Florida,” Gordon said. “Five o’clock in Florida, you know it’s going to rain somewhere.”
Marlins president David Samson approached Gordon at his locker afterward and promised him it would not happen again.
“If you are one [hit] short of 3,000 in Cooperstown, I will be there for you,” Samson said.