Steve Cishek’s sad body language told the story. As he watched Scott Van Slyke’s ball sail over the fence in the ninth to give the Dodgers a come-from-behind victory, Cishek doubled over on the mound, his head down.
He removed his cap.
He put his hands on his hips in disbelief.
And then he made the long walk back to the dugout after blowing his second save in two days on Van Slyke’s dramatic 3-run, game-ending homer.
Cishek’s role as the Marlins closer might have ended, at least for the time being, with the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory on Monday at Dodger Stadium, a devastating loss for the Marlins.
“Anytime you have leads late and you can’t hold onto them, it crushes you,” said manager Mike Redmond. “You’ve got to win these games.”
Redmond would not say if he intended to remove Cishek as closer. But he gave strong indication that his patience is wearing thin after Cishek blew his fourth save of the season.
“(Cishek) has done a tremendous job for us,” Redmond said. “But at the end of the day, it’s about winning games. We can’t keep blowing late leads. We’ll see tomorrow, regroup, see where we’re at.”
A.J. Ramos would seem the most logical candidate to replace Cishek as closer if that’s the direction Redmond decides to go. The Marlins have gone 3-5 on a road trip in which three of the defeats have come after they’ve held a lead in the eighth inning or later.
Cishek was dejected.
“This is about as low as I can get,” Cishek said. “This is a huge trial in my life right now. I’ve always found a way to get out of it. Just waiting for that time to come.”
How has Cishek gone from a closer with a greater than 90 percent success rate in save chances to one who has managed to convert only three of seven save opportunities this season?
“I honestly can’t explain it, I really can’t,” he said. “All I needed to do was get three outs, and I just continued to let the team down.
Cishek’s ERA now sits at 10.32 and he already has as many blown saves as he had all of last year.
The latest meltdown spoiled the Marlins’ own late-inning comeback.
Christian Yelich, whose costly error in the seventh enabled the Dodgers to take a 2-1 lead, redeemed himself in the ninth with a two-run homer off Dodgers closer Yimi Garcia.
“I was the reason why we were losing going into the ninth inning,” Yelich said.
The home run was a big thrill for Yelich, who grew up near Los Angeles and attended games at Dodger Stadium growing up.
“It’s always special playing in this ballpark,” Yelich said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the ‘W’ tonight.”
Victory went by the wayside in the bottom of the ninth after Cishek took over. He retired the first batter, but walked Yasmani Grandal and gave up a one-out single to Andre Ethier to bring up Van Slyke.
Van Slyke hit a 1-0 slider from Cishek into the left-center field bleachers.
“We get the big hit,” Redmond said of the Yelich homer. “We just weren’t able to finish it.”
Aside from Yelich’s fielding miscue, it was a night of defensive gems for the Marlins, with one spectacular play after another.
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria came up with one of the highlight reel plays, going to his backhand to glove a grounder before making a long throw to first to nip the runner.
Second baseman Dee Gordon nonchalantly scooped up a soft grounder before showing off his passing showmanship from his basketball days by making a behind-the-back flip to first for another out.
And right fielder Giancarlo Stanton prevented a Dodger run in the fifth when, with runners at the corners, he caught a line drive and fired a bullet to first to double up the runner there before the other could score from third.
But it all went for naught in the disastrous ninth.
Tom Koehler turned in a much better outing Monday than he had in his previous start when he gave up three home runs to the Nationals’ Bryce Harper in Washington.
On Monday, Koehler not only kept the ball in the park, but turned in six strong innings in which he held the Dodgers to a run on three hits. That run came in the fifth on Justin Turner’s RBI fielder’s choice.
But Dodger starter Zack Greinke proved even more challenging, holding the Marlins scoreless for six innings before a solo homer by Marcell Ozuna tied it in the seventh. It was the third home run in five days for Ozuna, who failed to put one out his first 26 games of the season.
The Marlins had a chance to cause more damage later in the inning when they loaded the bases with one out. But Van Slyke caught Hechavarria’s liner and fired home to throw out Yelich at the plate, ending the inning.
It was the second time in two days that Yelich was gunned down at the plate, and both of them came at critical moments.
▪ Gordon’s 13-game hitting streak came to an end when he went 0 for 4 against his former team.