Redmond earns first managerial ejection
Fan-interference call allows Giants to score game-tying run
SAN FRANCISCO -- In the fifth inning of the Marlins' 74th game of the season, Mike Redmond was ejected for the first time as a big league manager.
The 42-year-old former catcher was tossed by first-base umpire Mark Wegner after a disputed fan interference call at AT&T Park.
Miami was clinging to a 1-0 lead Saturday afternoon when Gregor Blanco blistered a long drive to right-center off Jacob Turner. Giancarlo Stanton pursued toward the high red-brick wall. The ball dropped and bounced straight up, glanced off the bricks and was touched by a fan, as Barry Zito, who was on first base, was charging towards home plate.
Immediately, Wegner signaled for interference, as the ball left the field of play. Home-plate umpire Mike Winters pointed at home and awarded Zito the base, which produced the tying run. Blanco ended up at third base.
Redmond raced to argue, questioning if the ball would have cleared the high wall without the interference. If so, an automatic double would have been the call. In that case, Blanco would have ended up on second and Zito at third.
"The ball hit off the wall and then went up and it was not going to go out of play until the fan reached over and caught it," Wegner said. "That's fan interference. It's our judgment where the runners would have gone if the fan had not touched the ball. As it went up, it went out over the field of play further, which made impossible to bounce into the stands until a fan reached out."
The Giants were able to claim a 2-1 win in 11 innings on pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez's walk-off single. Extra innings was set up by the Giants' disputed run in the fifth.
"Initially, I thought it was a ground-rule double," Redmond said. "I thought it went up there and bounced into the stands. Initially, that's what I thought. But even if he says fan interference, with the pitcher running, I don't know if he would have scored from first on that play."
According to MLB Rule 3:16 regarding "spectator interference," the umpires had the discretion to determine how far the runners could advance. Winters believed Zito would have scored.
"Mark was at first base and went out to the outfield on the ball and saw that the fan had reached over the field of play," Winters said. "In my judgment, if the fan hadn't touched the ball, Zito was going to score. That was a no-brainer to me. Initially, I thought he hadn't called fan interference, so I started pointing at third. As I was pointing, I picked up that [Wegner] had his hands together and that's when I said, 'OK, that's fan interference.' With a runner on first, [second-base umpire] Laz [Diaz] was positioned inside the diamond instead of deep in the outfield. With no runners on, Laz would have been the one to make the call."
Redmond was thrown out and remained arguing as Blanco stood at third base. Before play continued, the umpires sent Blanco back to second base. Turner was able to avoid any further damage in the inning by retiring Marco Scutaro on a fly ball to right field.
"It's a judgment call with fan interference," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's not a ground-rule double. The question I could argue is if Blanco should've been on third. That's their discretion. If the fan doesn't touch it, that's close to an inside-the-park home run."
Bench coach Rob Leary assumed managerial duties for Miami the rest of the game.
Ozuna busting out of slump with key hits
SAN FRANCISCO -- Coming through in the clutch just might be what it takes to get Marcell Ozuna back on track.
The Marlins certainly hope so.
Ozuna has stepped up with game-winning singles in each of Miami's first two games at AT&T Park against the Giants.
On Thursday night, the 22-year-old slapped a two-run, pinch-hit single that highlighted a 2-1 win. And in Friday's 6-3 victory, the rookie outfielder came through with the go-ahead RBI single. Both key hits came in the eighth inning.
Ozuna also added the game-tying single Friday.
"For me, I like [the pressure]," the Dominican Republic native said. "That's important. When you get in that situation, with two outs, you don't want to think too much."
Since being called up from Double-A Jacksonville on the final day of April, Ozuna has been one of Miami's most consistent run producers. But, heading into San Francisco, he had a rough stretch. In his previous eight games, he was 2-for-31 (.065) with seven strikeouts and one walk.
"I know coming into this series, he had been struggling," manager Mike Redmond said.
In May, Ozuna was hot, batting .330 with 11 RBIs and a home run in 106 at-bats.
With such a young team, the Marlins are measuring how their players handle adversity.
Right now, Ozuna is coming through on the road against the defending World Series champs.
"Those are things that we're looking for," Redmond said. "As a young player, can you come to the big leagues and respond? Are you able to recover? For those of us who have played this game, we realize how important confidence is. You're going to go through some tough times when you struggle. It's how quick can you come out of it. Hopefully, he's going to catch fire."
The way Ozuna sees it, success at San Francisco is a first step.
"For me, I broke my little slump," he said.
Marlins trying to follow Giants' model
SAN FRANCISCO -- The "Giants Way" is a blueprint to what the Marlins are ultimately trying to become.
Like San Francisco, the Marlins play in a pitcher-friendly park that is not conducive for home runs.
The Giants are built around pitching, defense and scrappy hitting.
"I think they have a little bit of everything," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "They may not hit a ton of home runs, but they score a lot of runs. They have a good lineup -- a lineup that makes contact and moves the ball around. They have guys who take their walks and get on base. The middle of their order is very productive, and they pitch."
In terms of belting home runs, the teams are similar. Miami entered Saturday ranked last in the National League with 38, while San Francisco was next to the bottom with 49.
Runs scored is where there is separation.
The Giants are fifth in the National League with 314 runs, compared to the Marlins' 227, last in the Majors.
The youthful Marlins, obviously, have a long way to go to reach the level of consistent winning that the defending World Series champion Giants have enjoyed.
A lack of a power-packed lineup, coupled with playing in a spacious stadium, increases the importance of pitching.
"We're always going to have to pitch," Redmond said. "And we're always going to have to play defense. Those are things that have made us successful in the past, although we've had great offensive players here.
"The key is going to be the defense and the pitching. If we're really good in those two areas, we'll be able to find ways to score enough runs to win ballgames."
Struggling Dietrich pressing a bit at plate
SAN FRANCISCO -- As his batting average has dropped, Derek Dietrich's eagerness at the plate has increased.
The combination is one reason the Marlins' 23-year-old rookie second baseman is mired in a slump. On the road trip, he was 1-for-13 entering Saturday.
With the Giants starting left-hander Barry Zito on Saturday, the left-handed-hitting Dietrich was given the afternoon game off.
"He's pressing a bit," Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez said. "He's chasing a lot of offspeed pitches. He's just not staying back on the ball. I think, since his average has gone down, he's trying to compensate by trying to hit home runs."
One of Dietrich's strengths is his power. His six home runs already are the most in a season by a Marlins left-handed-hitting second baseman.
"He's like cheating a little bit, trying to pull the ball," Martinez said. "He winds up swinging at balls in the dirt, changeups in the dirt."
Dietrich's average has dipped to .204. Before being called up to the big leagues in early May, Dietrich batted .282 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 28 games at Double-A Jacksonville.
Along with going through a rough stretch, Dietrich also dealt with a sore right thigh after he was struck by a Tim Lincecum fastball just above his knee Friday night. He was taken out of the game as part of a double-switch later in the game, and he was available Saturday.
Martinez notes that getting back on track is a process.
"It's part of the learning process. He will get through that," the hitting coach said. "He's probably never hit .200 before. That's frustrating for any player. You want to get that average up today. You can't do that. You've got to take it one at-bat at a time, and he's trying to do too much in one at-bat."