SEATTLE (AP) — Anytime Nelson Cruz sees something awkward from a pitcher in his delivery, his default is to start screaming that it’s a balk, even if it’s not.
For a change, Cruz was exactly right. He pointed and yelled at Los Angeles‘ Dylan Floro, who was called for a balk with one out in the 10th inning that scored Cameron Maybin and gave the Seattle Mariners a 5-4 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night.
“He screams balk every opportunity he can, and tonight he finally got one,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “That’s Nellie’s thing. He screams it. He’ll yell it when he’s on the bases, when he’s in the dugout, even in the batter’s box. Anytime the pitcher does anything that looks a little different, he starts screaming balk and he said he called it tonight.”
Seattle loaded the bases with one out, and with a one-strike count on Kyle Seager, Floro initiated his delivery before stepping off the mound. First base umpire Andy Fletcher called him for the game-ending balk. There was little argument from Floro, although Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts sought an explanation as Seattle celebrated the odd victory.
“That was a tough one. It’s (a balk) obviously when you’re trying to deceive the runner. Obviously, there was no intent to deceive. I thought he stepped off in time, but I looked back at the replay and there was a little bit of a buckle of the knee,” Roberts said.
Seattle led 4-1 entering the eighth inning, but Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy all hit solo home runs to force extra innings. Seattle improved to 12-1 in extra-inning games and 31-16 in one-run games this season.
Mitch Haniger led off the 10th with a line-drive single to right on the first pitch from Caleb Ferguson (3-2). Maybin hit into a fielder’s choice. Robinson Cano followed with an infield single, but Brian Dozier’s diving stop of the grounder kept Maybin from reaching third.
Floro entered and walked Cruz to load the bases before his mistake. Maybin said he wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary to try and shake Floro, and he could hear Cruz yelling from across the field.
“I think (Justin) Turner tried to deke me a little bit, so when he did his little move I kind of jumped a little bit and might have startled him a little bit,” Maybin said. “However you can get them, you take them.”
The Mariners remained 3½ games out of first place in the AL West, while the Dodgers wasted a chance to move closer to first-place Arizona in the NL West.
Muncy clubbed a 3-2 fastball from closer Edwin Diaz into the right-field seats with one out in the ninth. It was Muncy’s 28th homer of the season and second in as many days. It was the fourth homer allowed this season by Diaz, who ended a streak of converting 28 consecutive save opportunities. Diaz leads the majors with 47 saves, with four blown chances.
Seager hit a three-run homer in the first inning, but Seattle’s two most consistent relievers were shaky on the same night.
Turner led off the eighth with his eighth home run of the season off Alex Colome, the first run allowed by the right-hander since June 28, a span of 19 appearances. Two batters later, Bellinger’s 20th homer nearly reached the third deck of right field at Safeco Field.
Adam Warren (2-1) allowed a leadoff walk but finished off the 10th untouched to get the victory.
Neither Seattle’s Erasmo Ramirez nor Los Angeles’ Rich Hill factored into the decision.
Ramirez allowed one run in five innings, giving up three hits. His only issue was four walks allowed that raised his pitch count. Hill gave up four runs in the first inning, and then allowed one hit over the next five innings. He walked a season-high five.
Seattle added to its bullpen by calling up right-hander Matt Festa from Double-A Arkansas and sending RHP Christian Bergman to Triple-A Tacoma. Bergman worked extensively in relief on Friday. Festa was with Seattle earlier this season and appeared in one game before being sent back to Arkansas.
Dodgers: RHP Yimi Garcia, RHP Josh Fields and LHP Tony Cingrani are all continuing their injury rehab assignments in the minors, but Roberts said none of the three is expected to be ready in the next week. Garcia is likely the first to be ready to rejoin the club. Garcia has been on the DL since July 4, Fields since June 28 and Cingrani since June 7.
Mariners: Servais is hopeful LHP James Paxton will be able to start throwing in the next couple of days. Paxton is on the 10-day DL with a left arm contusion after getting hit by a line drive. Servais said the swelling is down and Paxton is working on range of motion with the arm, but has yet to pick up a ball.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.47 ERA) faces Seattle for the first time since 2012. Kershaw threw eight innings, allowing one run, in his last start against San Francisco, but did not factor in the decision.
Mariners: Roenis Elias (2-0) will come off the disabled list to start. Elias was placed on the DL on July 31 with a triceps strain. Elias has a 2.88 ERA in 13 games this season, with all but one of those coming in relief.