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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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D-backs fall in wild ninth after Clark's drop

Davis hurls seven solid innings; Reynolds belts homer

By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com

SEATTLE -- He just missed it.

There was nothing more Tony Clark could say, really.

Clark, a sure-handed first baseman throughout his long career in the big leagues, saw Mark Reynolds' throw bounce off his glove, allowing Ronny Cedeno to scamper home from third with the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the D-backs fell, 3-2, to the Mariners on Sunday.

"I missed it, it's a play I should have made," said Clark, who walked off the field, head down, as the 37,251 at Safeco Field roared in delight at the Mariners' three-game sweep of Arizona.

It was just another tough defeat for the D-backs, who have experienced many this season, and it left manager A.J. Hinch at a loss.

"There are some days where you don't know how to explain how this happens," Hinch said.

With two outs in the ninth and the score tied, the Mariners had the bases loaded. Hinch brought in closer Chad Qualls to face Franklin Gutierrez. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Gutierrez hit a chopper to the left of the mound. Reynolds charged the ball, fielded it, gathered himself as best he could and fired to Clark at first.

The ball hit off Clark's glove and bounced into foul territory.

"I was trying to run hard and see what happens," Gutierrez said. "If I run hard, maybe he will make a bad throw or something. He made a good throw, but [Clark] didn't catch it. I was surprised. When I saw the ball on the ground, I realized the game was over. It was exciting at that moment."

Seattle first-base coach Lee Tinsley, formerly with the D-backs, said the play was not as easy as it looked.

"Once he came up with the ball, it looked like he had a two-seam kind of grip on it," Tinsley said of Reynolds. "He put a lot on the throw. As Tony went out to get it, probably the last five feet, the ball moved about two feet or more. It kind of rode back in. I have known Tony for a lot of years and he's a good first baseman. When that ball rode in and kind of handcuffed him, if he can't catch that ball, I know most people can't catch it."

Clark, though, was having none of it.

"I just missed it," he repeated. "It's my fault."

It was a stunning end to a game that was nip and tuck throughout.

The Marinerss were able to grab a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Gutierrez scored on Yuniesky Betancourt's single through the hole at short.

The way Felix Hernandez was pitching, that might have been enough.

Though the right-hander did not seem at his dominating best, he was plenty good. Hernandez scattered six hits over 7 1/3 innings.

The D-backs were unable to break through against him until the eighth when Justin Upton drew a one-out walk and Reynolds followed with a two-run homer to center.

"We fight and claw," Hinch said. "We fight and claw and we hang tough. Mark comes up with the big home run and then we self-destructed a little bit."

That put Arizona starter Doug Davis in position for a much-deserved win. The left-hander allowed just one run over seven innings of work.

The lead, though, would not last long as in the bottom of the eighth, the Mariners tied the game, thanks in part to an infield single and a throwing error.

A road trip that started with such promise in taking two of three in Kansas City ended with a sweep in Seattle.

"It's a miserable ending to a rough road trip," Hinch said. "Everybody's looking for explanations, everybody's looking for solutions. We, internally, are going to have to find those. It's frustrating, it's unfortunate, but it's reality."
D-backs fall in wild ninth after Clark's drop | dbacks.com: News

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