By Anthony Dicomo and Joe Frisaro
MLB.com |@JoeFrisaro |
MIAMI -- After repeatedly stranding runners, the Mets finally broke through with four runs in the eighth inning on Tuesday night. With two outs, Eric Campbell delivered a pinch-hit RBI single, Juan Lagares laced a two-run triple and Curtis Granderson tacked on a run-scoring double off Mike Dunn that propelled New York to a 5-1 win over Miami at Marlins Park.
That made it five straight wins for the Mets, allowing them to maintain a one-game lead in the National League East.
"We've got some weapons that the other side of the field has to worry about," manager Terry Collins said. "And a big hit by Eric tonight. One thing we expect him to do is hit left-handers, and he got a big hit for us."
Jon Niese, who allowed one run on four hits in seven innings, improved to 6-9 on the season. The lone run Niese allowed was an RBI single to Dee Gordon, which gave Miami the lead in the third.
Making his first start since June 8 at Toronto, Miami lefty Brad Hand threw four shutout innings. It wasn't easy, as the lefty, who has been joggled from the bullpen to rotation, gave up five hits and walked three. He stranded the bases loaded in the first inning and was lifted after 84 pitches in his four frames.
In the eighth, the Mets had two on and two outs before tagging Dunn with three straight run-scoring hits.
"These are the type games we're going to have to win," Miami manager Dan Jennings said. "When they slip away from you, it's frustrating. This team [Mets] right now, they're on a playoff run. They have a lot of momentum going their way. But when you stay right there, cheek-to-cheek with them, and have a chance and let it get away, it's frustrating." More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Soup's hot: The Mets nearly wasted a prime opportunity to take the lead in the eighth, when Wilmer Flores popped up a bunt and Ruben Tejada struck out after the Mets put two men on base to lead off the inning. But that's when Campbell punched his go-ahead pinch-hit single through the left side, opening the floodgates.
"I thought I hit it either well enough or not well enough where it would drop in there," Campbell said laughing. More >
Wilmer's wiggle: Flores narrowly missed a game-tying home run in the top of the sixth, shooting a ball off the left-field wall for a double that traveled a projected 345 feet from home plate (according to Statcast™). It didn't wind up mattering. When the next batter, Tejada, singled, Flores raced around to score from second, contorting his body and ducking his head to avoid J.T. Realmuto's tag at home plate.
"I was telling him where to slide -- he better score," said Niese, who was on deck at the time. "That was a heck of a slide."
Yelich lends helping hand: Hand was able to make it through four scoreless innings with some defensive help, especially in the third. With one out, Juan Uribe blistered a drive to deep center that was run down by Christian Yelich. Statcast™ projected the drive at 400 feet from home plate, but Yelich was able to snare it near the wall for the second out. In the seventh inning, Yelich made another nice play, diving to take a hit away from Lagares.
Double-trouble in third: The Marlins didn't have many opportunities off Niese, but in the third inning, after they took the early lead on Gordon's single, they had runners on the corners with one out. Niese was able to limit the damage -- and block a potentially big inning -- by getting Yelich to tap into a 4-6-3 double play.
"For the rest of this year, versatility is going to be key for a lot of these guys. They're working at different spots. The coaching staff has done a tremendous job to put them out at different spots and work them in different places, to give them the opportunity to get work. If the bats stay hot, then they're going to find a place to play, wherever that will be. We do not have a plug-in-play lineup right now." -- Jennings, on Miami evaluating the roster in the final months
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: Rookie outfielder Michael Conforto, who homered Monday, should be back in the starting lineup for the Mets' series finale Wednesday at Marlins Park. Fresh off one of his better outings of the season, Matt Harvey (9-7, 2.91 ERA) will start the 7:10 p.m. ET game.
Marlins:David Phelps goes for Miami opposite Harvey. The right-hander is 4-7 with a 3.93 ERA, and he'll be seeking his first win since June 16.