SEATTLE -- Everyone noticed Dustin Ackley scampering home from third on a wild pitch in the 10th inning to score the winning run in Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Marlins, but somewhat lost in the bizarre finish was how the rookie got in position to score in the first place.
After doubling off Randy Choate to lead off the 10th, Ackley had the instincts and guts to tag up and take third on a fly ball to left-center by Miguel Olivo. A lot of youngsters would hesitate in that situation, but Ackley -- in just his ninth Major League game -- read the situation perfectly and hustled into third just ahead of the throw from Logan Morrison.
"I was kind of hanging out there for a moment in case it got down," Ackley said. "But I saw him slow up a little bit and I was like, 'I've got to get to third with less than two outs.' If you don't see his number running to the wall, you've got to get back there and tag."
Ackley also showed excellent speed in legging out a triple earlier in the game, then was quick enough to get home on the winning run even after the ball bounced off the backstop back to catcher John Buck nearly in time to make a throw to pitcher Steve Cishek on the wild pitch during an intentional walk attempt to Carlos Peguero.
Manager Eric Wedge noted Ackley's speed is impressive, while he's just learning how good the 22-year-old's baseball instincts are as he sees new situations.
"I think for a young player, he's pretty good," Wedge said of his feel for the game. "I don't know how good yet. But he understands, he's a good learner and listener. I feel like Brendan Ryan is going to help him up the middle. I think the more he can hang out with Adam Kennedy, the better he's going to be just because Adam is the consummate pro in every facet, on and off the field.
"He pays attention, which is going to help him. To get to your question, I think he has pretty good instincts for a young player and I think he's going to end up having real good instincts."