BALTIMORE (AP) -- The ball floated in the air, much closer to the
plate than Miguel Cabrera anticipated. It was supposed to be the
first pitch of an intentional walk, yet Cabrera wasn't about to let
this one get to the catcher.
And so he took a swing at it.
The result was a 10th-inning RBI single that put the Florida
Marlins ahead for good in an 8-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles
on Thursday night.
The Marlins trailed 5-1 in the ninth before coming back against
Baltimore closer Chris Ray, who was 18-for-18 in save situations
With catcher Ramon Hernandez standing upright and calling for an
intentional walk, Cabrera stepped into the soft, outside pitch and
drove it to center, scoring Ramirez with the go-ahead run on a
swing more likely to be seen in the movies than the major leagues.
"I haven't seen anything like that before. I've seen a wild
pitch on that, but never a hit," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said.
Cabrera would have taken a walk, but a pitch like that was too
good to pass up.
"I looked at it and saw it was too close to the plate. And
decided I would swing at it," he said. "It wasn't planned. They
gave me time to wait and get ready to hit it. I've never done that
Williams said he has difficulty throwing those types of pitches,
and this was no exception.
"If I throw a medium to hard throw, it's got a tendency to take
off on me. It's one of those things I've always done on intentional
walks," he said. "It was supposed to be outside, nowhere where he
can hit it."
Oh, but it was.
"I saw it was going to be close to the plate, but I never
expected him to swing at it," Williams said. "He could have
popped it up."
Two more runs scored on a throwing error by shortstop Miguel
Tejada, giving Florida an 8-5 lead in a game in which they trailed
by four runs with one out in the ninth.
Jeremy Hermida had a career-high four hits for the Marlins, who
took two of three from Baltimore.
"I told them it was the greatest game they've played all
year," Girardi said.
Hernandez snapped an 0-for-23 skid with two homers, but the
Orioles fell to 30-1 when leading after eight innings.
"I don't know how much sleep I'm going to get," Baltimore
manager Sam Perlozzo said. "It's a tough loss, one we should have
had that got away from us."
Ray came in with one out and runners on the corners in the
ninth. After Josh Willingham hit a sacrifice fly, Joe Borchard hit
a two-run pinch-hit home run and Wes Helms tied it with a pinch-hit
"I just missed my spots," Ray said. "Fastball away, it went
down and in, and then I hung a slider."
Because Florida was 1-31 when trailing after eight innings, the
Orioles appeared to be in ideal position. But the bullpen
collapsed, ruining a fine performance by Baltimore starter Kris
Benson allowed one run, six hits and two walks in eight innings.
Three times he got the final out with a runner on third base.
Florida rookie Scott Olsen was nearly as good. The left-hander
took a two-hitter into the eighth, but lasted only three more
batters before being yanked.
Olsen didn't give up a hit until Mora led off the fourth with a
single. Hernandez tied it at 1 in the fifth with an opposite-field
homer to right.
Willingham came off the 15-day DL and singled in his first
at-bat, ending an 0-for-13 run by Florida DHs. He also became the
Marlins' first DH to get an RBI in 10 games. ... Florida's Jeff
Fulchino got the final out in the eighth, becoming the 19th rookie
used by the Marlins. ... Hernandez did not have an RBI since June