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Clark's drop of routine throw lifts M's in ninth

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SEATTLE -- There were no apologizes coming from the Seattle Mariners clubhouse for how they finally got back above the .500 mark.

All Arizona first baseman Tony Clark wanted to do was say he was sorry.

The most routine of plays -- a throw across the infield -- resulted in a wacky finish that left players and managers on both sides stunned and speechless.

Clark, who played his 1,202nd game at first base entering Sunday, dropped a routine toss from third baseman Mark Reynolds allowing Ronny Cedeno to score the winning run for the Mariners with two outs in the ninth inning of a 3-2 victory over the Diamondbacks on Sunday.

"I missed it. ... I missed it," Clark said quietly. "It's a play I should have made."

Asked if he lost the ball at all as it came zipping from Reynolds' hand, Clark said, "I just missed it. That's my fault."

Chad Qualls got Franklin Gutierrez to ground slowly toward third where Reynolds charged, fielded cleanly and fired a perfect throw to Clark. With everyone in the stadium assuming the game was headed to extra innings, the ball hit Clark's glove in the palm and popped out, setting off an awkward celebration for the Mariners, who swept the three-game series and climbed above .500 for the first time since May 7.

The slumping Diamondbacks were left stunned. Clark briefly looked down toward his glove and the ball, before slowly walking off the field. Clay Zavada, who was tagged with the first loss of his career, sat in the dugout with his hands on his head.

While the loss left the Arizona manager A.J. Hinch searching for an explanation, the Mariners were relishing the odd finish that boosted them back to 35-34 and above .500 for the first time since May 7 when they were at 15-14 on a miserable 1-9 road trip.

Following its sweep of Arizona, Seattle has won five of six and nine of its last 14 to close the gap with Texas and the Angels in the meek AL West.

Still, that wasn't of much concern in the Mariners' clubhouse afterward. They were all trying to figure out if they had ever seen a game end on an error like that.

"It doesn't matter how we won the game. We won the game," Gutierrez said. "I was trying to run hard, and just see what happens. If you run hard, he's probably going to make a bad throw."

Outside of Clark, Seattle first base coach Lee Tinsley probably had the best view of the final play. Reynolds throw was on target, but rushed, and Tinsley said the throw tailed severely in the final few feet before finding Clark's glove.

"I've known Tony for a lot of years; he's a really good first baseman," Tinsley said. "And when that ball rode in and handcuffed, I thought, 'If he can't catch that ball, then most people can't catch it."'

Not that this will make the Diamondbacks feel any better. They were swept for the second time this season and fell a season-worst 12 games below .500.

"It's a miserable ending to a rough road trip," Hinch said.

The ninth inning started when Cedeno walked against Zavada (0-1). Ichiro Suzuki outlasted Zavada on a 12-pitch at-bat, fouling off six straight pitches before a broken-bat roller to short that Suzuki beat out by a step.

Chris Woodward failed to advance the runners, coming up empty on three attempts to lay down a sacrifice bunt in fair territory. Mike Carp tapped to first for the second out as both runners advanced and Sweeney was intentionally walked to load the bases and Qualls was brought in to face Gutierrez.

Seattle came from behind for the 20th time this season, although none has been quite this odd.

"You should have seen me in the clubhouse. I was going crazy," Seattle starter Felix Hernandez said.

Arizona took a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Reynolds tagged Hernandez for a two-run homer, his 19th shot this season. It was the only blemish on another strong start by Hernandez, who saw his scoreless innings streak end at 20 on Reynolds' homer.

Hernandez struck out eight and gave up just six hits. He has a 1.00 ERA in his last six starts. Mark Lowe (1-4) got the victory pitching the ninth for his first win since April 2008.

Doug Davis was nearly Hernandez's equal. He pitched seven innings, allowing just an RBI single by Yuniesky Betancourt in the fourth inning, one of three hits for the Mariners shortstop. Davis gave up seven hits and struck out three.

His chance at a win was lost in the eighth when Mike Carp scored on Guiterrez's fielder's choice.

"We take a punch in the gut time after time when we have opportunities to win the game and don't," Hinch said.

Notes

  • Suzuki recorded his 1,900th major league hit on a 70-foot roller down the first-base line. He sheepishly acknowledged the crowd with a tip of the cap when the milestone was displayed on the scoreboard.
  • Mariners C Kenji Johjima caught four innings on Saturday night at Triple-A Tacoma and manager Don Wakamatsu said Sunday that Johjima will likely be activated on the upcoming road trip that begins Friday in Los Angeles.
  • Hinch plans for CF Chris Young (groin) to return either Tuesday or Wednesday.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Franklin Gutierrez is congratulated after plating the winner off Tony Clark's error.  (AP)
Franklin Gutierrez is congratulated after plating the winner off Tony Clark's error. (AP)

Players of the Game
Seattle

Y. Betancourt
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Arizona

M. Reynolds
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

Related Video

Arizona Diamondbacks
Felipe Lopez, 2B5010032 .297
Stephen Drew, DH4000031 .235
Justin Upton, RF3110101 .321
Mark Reynolds, 3B4112003 .267
Gerardo Parra, CF4010020 .267
Miguel Montero, C4010000 .236
Tony Clark, 1B3010100 .176
Eric Byrnes, LF4000013 .220
Augie Ojeda, SS3010012 .238
Totals34272210  
Batting
2B - Augie Ojeda (7, Lowe)
HR - Mark Reynolds (19, Hernandez)
RBI - Mark Reynolds 2 (49)
SB - Felipe Lopez (5, 2nd base off Hernandez/Burke)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Eric Byrnes 1
DP - Ojeda-F. Lopez-Clark
E - Tony Clark (2, Missed catch of throw), Felipe Lopez (8, Throwing)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Doug Davis 7711530 3.53
Scott Schoeneweis0111000 3.75
Jon Rauch (BS,1) 0.2200000 4.94
Clay Zavada (L,1-1) 1110210 0.00
Chad Qualls0000000 4.39
IBB - Suzuki by Doug Davis, Sweeney by Clay Zavada
Pitches-Strikes - Doug Davis 114-64, Scott Schoeneweis 2-2, Jon Rauch 22-13, Clay Zavada 34-20, Chad Qualls 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Davis 6-8, Jon Rauch 1-1, Clay Zavada 1-1, Chad Qualls 1-0
Batters Faced - Doug Davis 29, Scott Schoeneweis 1, Jon Rauch 4, Clay Zavada 6, Chad Qualls 1
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4030100 .358
Chris Woodward, 3B4000116 .364
Mike Carp, 1B4120100 .429
Mike Sweeney, DH3010202 .240
Franklin Gutierrez, CF5111011 .252
Wladimir Balentien, LF3000112 .227
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4031000 .249
Jamie Burke, C3010000 .122
   a- Ken Griffey Jr., PH1000002 .219
    Rob Johnson, C0000000 .200
Ronny Cedeno, 2B3100110 .123
Totals34311274  
a-flied out for Burke in the 8th
Batting
2B - Franklin Gutierrez (6, Davis)
3B - Ichiro Suzuki (3, Davis)
RBI - Franklin Gutierrez (24), Yuniesky Betancourt (22)
2-OUT RBI - Yuniesky Betancourt (6)
CS - Yuniesky Betancourt (1, 2nd base by Davis/Montero)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Woodward-Burke
Seattle Mariners
Felix Hernandez 7.1622281 2.74
Garrett Olson 0.2000000 4.23
Mark Lowe (W,1-4) 1100020 3.58
HBP - Ojeda (by Felix Hernandez)
WP - Felix Hernandez (8)
Pitches-Strikes - Felix Hernandez 112-69, Garrett Olson 6-4, Mark Lowe 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Felix Hernandez 7-7, Garrett Olson 1-1, Mark Lowe 1-0
Batters Faced - Felix Hernandez 31, Garrett Olson 2, Mark Lowe 4
Game Information
Attendance - 37251
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 61
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Jim Joyce, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Ted Barrett