By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
MIAMI — Boy, this is starting to look familiar, isn’t it?
The losses, seemingly, are starting to feed off each other for the Mariners, who have now lost four in a row. And more than that, the losses are again coming in spectacular walk-off fashion.
The end came Friday when Giancarlo Stanton unloaded a grand slam missile against Yoervis Medina that propelled the Miami to an 8-4 victory over the Mariners at Marlins Park.
“It was a slider in the middle,” Medina said, “and he’s really good.”
So good the Mariners intentionally walked him on two other occasions. They didn’t have that option in the ninth after third baseman Kyle Seager bobbled a transfer on a force, which left the bases loaded with no outs.
“That’s just the way it goes,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It’s unfortunate because we really tried to stay away from him all night. He’s the one guy in that lineup who can really hurt you. We had no choice there.”
Seager’s error came two days after a poor toss by shortstop Brad Miller on a possible game-ending force play fueled a ninth-inning collapse in a loss at Texas.
“I thought I caught the ball on the base,” Seager said. “And then I tried to transfer it over there to maybe make a throw to first. That’s when I bobbled it, but I felt I caught the ball on the base.”
Replays confirmed that’s exactly what happened but, this year, that bobble negates the force. While Lance Barrett initially signaled an out, Miami manager Mike Redmond challenged the call. Replays reversed it.
That brought Stanton to the plate. He already had two singles in addition to his two walks, but he also committed a three-base error in the second inning by misplaying Dustin Ackley’s single. Two runs scored on the play.
“I knew this game was going to be lost or won because of me,” Stanton said. “I was like, ‘If I get a chance to hit, I’d better take care of it, because of what I did earlier in the game.’ It was definitely in my mind as a duty.”
Medina jumped ahead 1-2 and came in with a slider that Stanton drove over the left-field wall. And, really, it was hard to be surprised.
This was the Mariners’ second walk-off loss in three days and third of the season in 16 games. That makes 52 walk-off losses since the start of the 2010 margin — the worst number, by far, of any team in the majors.
Seager tersely dismissed the suggestion that it’s starting to feel like last year, saying: “No, it’s a completely different group this year.”
It’s possible, of course, the Mariners are just in the sort of rough patch that every club hits at some point, although they are 6-for-28 during the past four games with runners in scoring position.
They also again taxed their bullpen when their starter failed to make it past the fourth inning for the third time in four games. Chris Young exited after giving up four runs and seven hits in three innings.
“Just never got in a rhythm,” said Young, who worked six scoreless innings in his previous start. “Never felt comfortable. Didn’t execute the way I need to, and the results showed it.”
The Marlins built leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 4-2 for starter Nathan Eovaldi, but the Mariners pulled even on Corey Hart’s two-out RBI single in the seventh against A.J. Ramos.
Nothing went right for the Mariners in the ninth.
First, Steve Cishek (1-0) blew through Miller, Robinson Cano and Hart in the top of the inning. Reed Johnson then started the winning rally with a pinch-hit single.
Christian Yelich followed with a terrific bunt up the first-base line. Instead of a sacrifice, he turned it into a single, which meant the Marlins had runners at first and second with no outs.
Marcell Ozuna also tried to put down a sacrifice bunt, but Medina made a sparkling bare-handed pickup and turned it into a force at third.
Or so it seemed.
The replay confirmed Seager’s bobble, which left the bases loaded with no outs.