Prado's walk-off shrinks Mets' division lead

Prado's walk-off shrinks Mets' division lead

MIAMI -- Martin Prado capped an epic 12-pitch, full-count, bases-loaded showdown with a sacrifice fly off Tyler Clippard that rallied the Marlins to a 4-3 win over the Mets at Marlins Park. For the second time in the series, Prado delivered the walk-off RBI.

Miami loaded the bases with one out off Clippard, who was working his second inning. The rally started with Jeff Mathis, who hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning, reaching on a wild pitch after striking out. J.T. Realmuto pinch-ran, and went to third on Dee Gordon's single to right. Christian Yelich was intentionally walked, and Prado fouled off six straight full-count pitches before lining the ball to left for the decisive sacrifice fly.

The Mets' lead in the National League East is now at four games over the Nationals after Washington completed a sweep of the Braves with an 8-4 win on Sunday.

Prado dunked on after walk-off

"Martin is taking over this team," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "He'es becoming a very outspoken, go-to leader in that clubhouse. He carries himself that way. The things he shares. His approach. Then you see a guy who has done that, steps up in key moments. That speaks volumes."

Prado's walk-off moment was filled with plenty of frantic moments. During the play, Gordon nearly committed a baserunning blunder. He didn't tag at second, and was sprinting to third as third-base coach Lenny Harris waved him back to second. Had the Mets thrown to second, they might have doubled Gordon up, which would have nullified the run.

The drama in the ninth inning started with the Mets loading the bases with one out off A.J. Ramos, who escaped the jam when pinch-hitter Travis d'Arnaud bounced into a 5-4-3 double play.

Ramos induces key double play

Each team relied on the long ball to do damage. The Mets went ahead 3-2 in the sixth inning on Wilmer Flores's two-run homer off Chris Narveson, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead. But Miami pulled even with two outs in the eighth on Justin Bour's thunderous pinch-hit home run off Clippard.

Mets starter Steven Matz allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings before exiting with a blister to his left middle finger. Miami right-hander Jarred Cosart, making his first big league start since July 4, had a solid effort, giving up one run in 4 2/3 innings on 88 pitches.

Cosart fans Granderson

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bour's pinch-hit blast: The Marlins hadn't had a pinch-hit home run all season until Bour stepped up with two outs in the eighth against Clippard. Bour connected on not only his first pinch-hit homer, but the first by the Marlins since Jordany Valdespin on Aug. 29, 2014, at Atlanta. Statcast™ projected Bour's towering shot landing 407 feet from home plate, with an exit velocity of 105 mph. The drive, which landed in the second deck, had a launch angle of 35 degrees.

"You're not really going up there looking for a home run, but that was our situation there," Bour said. "That's kind of what you need. It's great that it was a meaningful home run. It's not down 6-0. That's one that tied the game, so that was cool."

Bour's game-tying solo shot

Flores cleans up: Due to injuries, Flores was inserted into the cleanup spot on Sunday and filled the role well. Trailing 2-1 with one out in the sixth inning, the Mets' second baseman followed Yoenis Cespedes' leadoff single with a two-run home run off of Narveson that traveled 397 feet from home plate and had an exit velocity at 99 mph, according to Statcast™. The homer -- Flores' second in as many games -- marked his 16th of the season and put New York ahead, 3-2.

Flores' go-ahead two-run shot

Matz leaves with blister: Matz turned in a solid performance by going 5 1/3 innings and allowing just two earned runs on four hits, but his third outing of the season was shortened due to a blister on the middle finger of his left hand. The rookie lefty, making his first start since July 5, retired Prado to begin the sixth inning, but then exited the contest after consulting with a trainer on the mound.

"When I saw him chewing on his finger, that's when I went out there," Collins said. "He said he just tore the skin back and it was pretty good size." More >

Matz exits due to blister

Mathis' all-around impact: Mathis was an unsung hero in a wild game. Even his strikeout to lead off the ninth inning was huge, because he reached first on a wild pitch. He was pinch-run for by Realmuto, who scored the winning run. Mathis added a home run in the fifth inning, and he made a terrific defensive play in the third inning on Cosart's pitch in the dirt. As the ball kicked away, Michael Conforto attempted to take third, but Mathis threw him out.

"It can't go unnoticed the impact Mathis had on this game," Jennings said. "The home run, the play at third. The way he worked with Cosart. And his heads-up play to reach first on the wild pitch."

Mathis homers to take lead

QUOTABLE
"If you're in a good spot where you feel good about yourself, you might have a pretty good chance to win a game." -- -- Prado, on his at-bat in the ninth

Jennings on Prado, Cosart in win

"We lost a couple tough ones here, but there's no reason to have this effect us moving forward. We knew that this was gonna be a series...It's gonna be a big series -- two really good teams going at it. They're playing good baseball and we could have very easily came out of here with three wins. But we have to turn the page and get ready for D.C." -- Mets third baseman David Wright, on the Marlins series as well as the upcoming series against Washington

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gordon singled and stole second in the first inning, giving him 48 steals. The All-Star second baseman is closing in on becoming the Marlins' first player to reach 50 steals since Hanley Ramirez (51) in 2007.

Cespedes opened the scoring with a solo home run to center, his 12th blast since being traded to the Mets in July. The outfielder has 30 total homers, counting 18 with the Tigers. It is the first 30-homer season of his career.

Cespedes' solo homer

WHAT'S NEXT
Mets: New York opens a pivotal three-game set at Washington, which is in second place in the NL East, on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Jonathon Niese (8-10, 4.17 ERA) gets the ball for the Mets, while Max Scherzer (11-11, 2.89 ERA) goes for the Nationals.

Marlins: The Marlins open a three-game set on Monday with the Brewers at 1:10 p.m. ET. Rookie left-hander Justin Nicolino (3-2, 3.07) will make his eighth big league start. Milwaukee is going with right-hander Zach Davies (0-0, 8.31).

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.