The Miami Marlins had Thursday’s series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies in the bag. Casey McGehee’s 50th RBI of the season and an RBI triple by Jeff Baker put the team on top and had their closer set up for the save.
Then Steve Cishek short circuited. The slider, sinkerball pitcher walked pinch hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. to lead off the top of the ninth, then outfielder Ben Revere singles to right field to have the Phillies set up with runners at the corners with one out for Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley to once again play the heroes and win the game 5-4.
“You can’t walk the leadoff batter [in the ninth], especially on four pitches,” Cishek said. “I just made things more difficult than they needed to be.
The Phillies couldn’t ask for a better pinch hitter to face off with Cishek like Tony Gwynn Jr. Knowing the kind of ground ball type pitcher Cishek is, Gywnn was able to challenge him to throw a strike that seems hittable to Gywnn and he failed.
“When you’re down runs, you got to be picky with what you’re swinging at,” Gwynn said. “You start ball one, ball two, in that situation I’m taking it. I’m gonna see if he can throw a strike. I think the 2-0 pitch was close but honestly, after that, none of them were close.”
Gywnn also said that with him and Revere on second and third base with only one out and Rollins up to the plate, the pressure was not on the Phillies to score the winning runs, but rather on the Marlins to secure the win.
This loss prevented the Marlins to sweep the Phillies and go into their nine-game road trip with positive momentum. Now they are six games out of first place and three games under .500.
June has never been kind for the Marlins recently. Miami had a one-game lead in the National League East with a 32-28 record on June 5 and in the 25 games since, the team has gone 9-16 and 5-11 at home.
"We had it right there," said Cishek, who has allowed four earned runs in his last three appearances. "We were down pressing for first place, trying to get up there in the division. Can't have that happen."