San Diego Padres reliever Tyson Ross didn't start the ninth inning the way he wanted Sunday, and he figures that's why it ended badly, too.
Ross gave up a walk to the first batter he faced, and Jeff Mathis' grand slam with one out lifted the Miami Marlins past the Padres 6-2.
"That leadoff walk killed me," said Ross (0-4). "It can't happen in the ninth inning, or any inning really."
Ross also fell behind Mathis, who pulled a 1-0 fastball into the Padres bullpen.
"I had to come with a strike right there, and I just caught too much of the plate," Ross said.
The ending spoiled a strong showing by San Diego's Andrew Cashner, who allowed two runs and five hits and in six innings. Carlos Quentin pinch hit for Cashner and had a two-run homer that made the score 2-all.
"Today was probably the best I've thrown all year," Cashner said. "I couldn't get a couple of plays to go my way, but overall I think I did really well."
The 6-foot-6 Cashner displayed his all-around ability at the plate and in the field. He bunted for a hit to lead off the third inning, and in the fifth he went to his knees to field a tapper by Nathan Eovaldi, then rose, ran and slid into first for an unassisted putout.
"He was making all sorts of plays out there," Eovaldi said with a laugh. "He was all over. Good job."
Cashner rated the defensive play on Eovaldi's grounder as the best of his career. Padres manager Bud Black applauded his pitcher's athleticism.
"He's bunting; he's diving into first; he's turning double plays," Black said. "The team feeds off that. Any time you see that out of a pitcher -- I don't want to say it's unexpected, but it's not ordinary what he's doing right now. It creates a little buzz in the dugout."
The clubhouse, by contrast, was quiet afterward. The Padres deployed a five-infielder, two-outfielder defense for Mathis, and he hit a pitch past everyone and into the San Diego bullpen.
"I appreciated being in that position and enjoyed every minute," Mathis said. "It's one of those ideal situations. You really want to get the job done. It was a bunch of fun."
The 3,000th homer in the Marlins' 20-year history came from an unlikely source. Mathis is a career .195 hitter, and this year he's batting only .129 after missing almost all of spring training because of a broken collarbone.
The victory added momentum to the Marlins' turnaround of late. While they still have baseball's worst record, they went 15-10 in June, a huge improvement on their 14-41 record in the first two months.
"After April and May, to do what we did in June is great," manager Mike Redmond said. "Are we happy? Yes. Are we satisfied? No."
The score was 2-all when Morrison walked to start the ninth. He took second on a single by Marcell Ozuna, then advanced to third on a flyout. Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Mathis followed with his second home run this year.
It was also Mathis' second career grand slam, and his first walkoff homer. Gleeful teammates greeted him at home plate, and he joined the scrum leading with his left shoulder.
"I knew I was going to get pounded on, so I was getting ready for it," he said. "The adrenalin was going pretty good."
Eovaldi threw six shutout innings for Miami, and Steve Cishek (2-4) pitched a hitless ninth.
Quentin, held out of the starting lineup to give him a breather, batted for Cashner in the seventh and hit his ninth homer on the first pitch from Qualls. Quentin had been 0 for 6 as a pinch hitter this season, and it was his third career homer in that role.
"Any time a guy hits a pinch-hit home run, that shocks you a little," Redmond said. "So I think it took us a couple of innings to get over that."