Marlins 10, Diamondbacks 5
For the second time in less than a year, Lowell made a fool of an unsuspecting runner with the hidden-ball trick.
Just when Arizona’s Luis Terrero thought it was safe to take a lead, Lowell caught him wandering off the bag in the eighth inning Wednesday night. The sleight of hand halted a Diamondbacks rally, and the Marlins went on to win in a rout, 10-5.
With the Diamondbacks trailing 6-5, Terrero hit a leadoff single against Marlins closer Todd Jones. Terrero advanced on Quinton McCracken’s sacrifice and went to third on Tony Clark’s pinch-hit single to left.
Lowell, who caught Montreal’s Brian Schneider with a hidden-ball play last Sept. 15, quickly sized up another opportunity to pull the rare trick after catching Cabrera’s throw to the infield.
“I looked to first to see if Tony Clark was going to advance, then I looked at third base,” Lowell said. “Both guys had their heads down so I just held onto the ball to see what would happen.”
Despite the absence of any signal from Lowell, Jones—who said he hadn’t seen the play since 1986, when he was in high school—understood what his teammate was up to.
“When I didn’t get the ball, I figured it out by the process of elimination,” Jones said. “I just walked around and tried to stall. I was running out of things to do. I was going to touch my toes.”
Just as Jones was getting ready to give up the charade, Terrero took his lead off third base. Lowell sauntered over and tagged the stunned baserunner, who was immediately called out by third base umpire Ed Rapuano, drawing a roar of approval from the crowd of 20,443.
“It was the coolest thing I’ve done on the field in a while,” said Jones, who singled in the bottom half of the inning for his fourth career hit—his first since July 27, 1995.
Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin came out of the dugout to argue the call, to no avail.
“It was just the culmination of a poorly played game by us, our worst game of the year,” Melvin said. “We didn’t deserve to win that game.”
Rookie Jason Vargas (3-0) pitched five solid innings to win his second straight start. He allowed one run on four hits while striking out five.
“I wish I could have been stronger and given them seven innings but they took me deep in a lot of counts and made me throw a lot of pitches,” Vargas said. “They fouled a lot of pitches off and didn’t give me a lot of air to breathe. They were battling, I was battling and I was fortunate to come out on top.”
Lowell was the last major leaguer to pull the play when he used it last season to escape a bases-loaded, two-out jam during the first game of a doubleheader against Montreal. After Schneider stopped at third on a single, Lowell faked a throw to the mound. When the Expos’ runner left the bag, Lowell tagged Schneider for the final out.
“I’ve seen Cookie Rojas pull it a couple of times, and Mike a couple of times, those are the only ones I know of in the big leagues,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.
Lowell also contributed with the bat Wednesday, hitting a two-run double off Brad Halsey (8-8) in the bottom of the fifth to cap a three-run outburst and put the Marlins up 6-1.
“We didn’t play well and we didn’t win the ballgame,” Halsey said. “That’s what happens. I really don’t know what else to say about it.”
Troy Glaus keyed Arizona’s rally in the seventh with a three-run double off Guillermo Mota, after left-hander Ron Villone walked the bases loaded. Glaus advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Shawn Green’s sacrifice fly to draw the Diamondbacks to within 6-5.
After Terrero’s miscue the following inning, the Marlins broke it open with four runs in the eighth, capped by Alex Gonzalez’s three-run base-clearing double.
Jones completed his two-inning outing in the ninth for his 24th save in 26 opportunities.
Pierre stole his 39th and 40th bases of the season and reached safely in each of his first four plate appearances. He hit a leadoff single in the first and stole second. After advancing on Luis Castillo’s grounder to first he scored Florida’s first run when Halsey’s 58-footer bounced off catcher Kelly Stinnett for a wild pitch.
Halsey fielded Pierre’s leadoff bunt in the third but had no one to throw to when first base was left uncovered. One out later, Cabrera hit a 421-foot shot over the left-field scoreboard to make it 3-0.
Acquired from Seattle on July 31, Villone struggled in his Dolphins Stadium debut. After striking out Chris Snyder to begin the seventh, he walked Craig Counsell, Royce Clayton and Luis Gonzalez to load the bases. Mota relieved and Glaus slammed a drive over Pierre’s head for a bases-clearing double.
Mota threw a wild pitch—one of five in the game between the two teams— that allowed Glaus to advance to third. Green flied out to left and Glaus scored just ahead of Cabrera’s throw to the plate.
Clayton drove in Arizona’s first run with a double in the fifth.
Halsey hadn’t allowed a home run in 37 innings before Cabrera’s homer. … The Marlins have scored first in 19 of their last 22 games, including each of their last five. … Marlins RF Chris Aguila popped out to 2B Craig Counsell in each of his first three at-bats. … Juan Encarnacion, who missed his seventh straight start because of a sore wrist, replaced Aguila in the field in the eighth. … Jones got his last hit with Houston against Colorado.