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SEA@FLA: Ackley races home on wild pitch in the 10th

SEATTLE -- A Mariners team starved for runs found a unique way to score the game winner on Sunday night, with rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley racing home from third when Marlins reliever Steve Cishek threw a wild pitch during an attempted intentional walk in the 10th inning.

Ackley's run gave the Mariners a 2-1 victory and a series win over a Florida club that played all weekend in Safeco Field as the "home" team -- despite being all the way across the country, due to a scheduling conflict at their regular home ballpark.

The flip-flopped series turned completely upside down in the end, when Cishek threw high and wide of catcher John Buck as the Marlins tried to walk rookie outfielder Carlos Peguero (who was hitting .205) with Ackley perched on third and one out in the top of the 10th.

"That was a first," said Ackley, who went 3-for-5 in his best game since being called up from Triple-A two weeks ago. "Hopefully, there'll be some more that bounce our way like that. That would be nice."

The Marlins, now 3-22 in June, found a new way to lose. And this one was as painful as they come, after Florida had tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with their lone run off Seattle starter Doug Fister.

"All I've got to do is hit him in the chest, and that one got away from me," Cishek said. "It's pretty tough to lose that way."

The Mariners evened their record at 39-39 and pulled back into second place in the American League West, a game and a half back of Texas.

Seattle's offensive struggles continued, as they left the hard-luck Fister with another no-decision in a well-pitched start. But Ackley provided some spark with a double and triple in his first multi-hit game.

The 2009 first-round Draft pick doubled off tough lefty Randy Choate to lead off the 10th, moved to third on a fly ball to left field by Miguel Olivo, and crossed the plate after Cishek's third pitch to Peguero sailed to the backstop.

"After I saw him throw a couple pitches, I was like, 'Man, he's throwing a couple wide,'" Ackley said. "I thought maybe for a guy throwing from that angle, it might be easy for one to get away from him. So I was pretty ready, and when I saw it get by, I just told myself to run as hard as you can and hope you get there."

Ackley has now reached base in all nine of his appearances -- and hit safely in seven of those -- with his batting average now at .300.

Brandon League came in for his American League-leading 21st save, making a winner of reliever David Pauley (5-1), who pitched a perfect ninth.

Fister (3-8 despite a 3.18 ERA) wound up with another tough no-decision after the only Mariners run scored during his eight innings of work came from his own double in the fourth, as he eventually scored on a Brendan Ryan base hit.

Fister has been one of the Majors' hardest-luck stories all season long. The Mariners have scored a not-so-grand total of eight runs in his eight losses, and his 2.46 run-support average -- even before Sunday's outing -- was the lowest for an American League starter.

"At the end of the day, it's not about personal stats," Fister said. "It's about how we're doing and the morale in the clubhouse. Right now, we had a good day, and we're ready to roll tomorrow."

Fister, who saw a 5-1 lead blown by the bullpen in the ninth inning in his previous start, lost the advantage himself in this one when Omar Infante capped a 12-pitch sparring session in the eighth with an RBI double into the left-field corner.

Fister stubbornly fired 12 straight sinking fastballs on the inside corner against Infante, who fouled off eight in a row before finally driving in Jose Lopez with the tying run.

"I felt convicted with each one of them, and that anything else would have been less. I have to tip my hat [to] him," said Fister. "Reading hitters and communicating with [Miguel] Olivo back there, we both felt it was our best pitch at the time, each one of them. It felt like that was our best bet."

"Nobody was going to flinch there," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "It was whether or not Infante mis-hit the baseball or not. I thought Doug did a great job and Infante did a great job. [Heck of] an at-bat."

Fister was happy about providing his own offense in the top of the fifth against Florida's Anibal Sanchez, doubling into the left-center gap with one out, moving to third on a single by Ichiro Suzuki and scoring on a base hit to right by Ryan.

Fister thus became the first pitcher to score a run in Safeco's 12-year history, since pitchers don't normally hit in the American League park. Safeco did extra duty this weekend in an Interleague series shifted from Miami due to a scheduling conflict with a U2 concert at Sun Life Stadium.

Fister's main job, of course, is getting people out, and he did that again in fine fashion on Sunday by scattering eight hits with no walks and three strikeouts over eight innings.

Seattle's starters have allowed just 11 earned runs over 72 innings for a 1.38 ERA in their last 10 games.

"I like Fister," said Marlins skipper Jack McKeon. "I saw him in Double-A, and I listed him as a prospect down there. I only saw him one time, but I liked what I saw. He threw strikes, and kept us off balance. We had some opportunities off him, but couldn't cash in." Comments