Casilla 'way off' in rare blown save

Casilla 'way off' in rare blown save

MIAMI -- Given Santiago Casilla's 20 saves in 24 chances this year, there's usually a plausible explanation for his occasional shortcomings. Thus, the reason given for his ninth-inning lapse Wednesday, which featured Justin Bour's game-winning home run that gave the Marlins a 6-5 triumph over the Giants, was easy to accept: He's human.

That might not placate Giants fans, but manager Bruce Bochy tried to receive Casilla's mistakes with the same calm he displays after the closer's successes.

"He was way off, I thought," Bochy said without rancor but with emphasis. "He wasn't mixing his pitches or hitting his spots with the fastball."

The Giants fell to 37-2 when leading after eight innings. With Casilla off, the Marlins had little trouble erasing San Francisco's 5-3 lead. Christian Yelich and Adeiny Hechevarria singled before Bour lined a 1-0 sinker that didn't sink into the right-field seats.

Catcher Andrew Susac said that he called for a curveball on the fateful pitch to Bour, but Casilla shook him off to go with the sinker, one of his favorite deliveries. That was fine with Susac, who reasoned that the right-hander would throw the pitch with confidence. Casilla may have done exactly that. But his location didn't match his conviction.

"The sinker away, if executed, is a good pitch to that guy," Susac said. "It just caught a little bit too much of the plate."

Earlier, San Francisco's bullpen excelled in protecting the 4-3 lead it inherited from starter Chris Heston. Hunter Strickland followed Heston and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings before Javier Lopez recorded an inning-ending double play in the eighth with the lone pitch he threw.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.