Marlins unable to capitalize on opportunities

Marlins unable to capitalize on opportunities

Marlins unable to capitalize on opportunities
NEW YORK -- All weekend, the Marlins allowed opportunities to slip away. It occurred again, at an inopportune time, on Sunday afternoon.

A passed ball in the ninth inning set the Mets up for some walk-off heroics.

Ruben Tejada's bases-loaded single off Ryan Webb lifted the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Marlins in front of 26,923 at Citi Field.

The Mets completed a three-game sweep, and have won seven straight in the season series.

"The more mistakes you make, you put yourself in a worse position," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's the way I look at it. The more mistakes, more errors, more chances they get, more pitches we throw. We have to get better about that."

Already playing with a shorthanded lineup, the Marlins are without a number of their regulars -- including All-Star Giancarlo Stanton (left intercostal strain) and Justin Ruggiano (right shoulder).

The Marlins have dropped four straight, and six of seven. They're off on Monday before facing the Braves for three games at Turner Field.

Veteran Greg Dobbs says the team has to regroup and move forward.

"You have to constantly improve on the mistakes you make, both physically and mentally," Dobbs said. "And you've got to, as quickly as you can, learn from it, and then put it behind you -- because we've got a series at Atlanta to play. You can't dwell on anything.

"You need to learn from it. You need to analyze what you're doing. Are you doing the most you can? Are you preparing the best you can? Are you executing the best you can? If you are, and if all of us are, then we'll turn it around. But you have to have that mentality."

Scott Hairston, who hurt the Marlins with home runs on Friday and Saturday, got the game-winning rally going with a single. A passed ball by rookie catcher Rob Brantly moved Hairston into scoring position. After Andres Torres walked, pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin tapped to shortstop. Miami got the force at second, but Valdespin avoided being doubled-up at first for the final out.

Valdespin being safe by a half-step was enough of an opening for the Mets to capitalize.

"That's what we do," Guillen said. "This game's about inches."

After Valdespin took second on defensive indifference, pinch-hitter Fred Lewis was walked intentionally to load the bases. Tejada ended it with his single to left-center.

Starter Ricky Nolasco enjoyed a strong outing, giving up two runs with five strikeouts over seven innings. But the right-hander was not involved in the decision. Neither was Mets right-hander Chris Young, who allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings.

The Marlins entered the series needing to take at least two of three to move into fourth place ahead of New York in the National League East. But it was the Mets who were able to make Miami's climb out of last place more difficult with nine games remaining.

"We needed to bounce back after the tough series against Philly," Young said. "I know Miami's down a little bit, missing two of their big bats in Stanton and Ruggiano. But it was nice to get back on track for us and win some games at home."

In the fifth inning, the Marlins were able to erase a two-run deficit, scoring twice -- with one run being unearned.

Successive singles by Brantly and Gil Velazquez put runners on first and second with no outs. Nolasco executed a sacrifice bunt, and Bryan Petersen's sacrifice fly to center made it, 2-1. Gorkys Hernandez worked a walk, putting runners on the corners with two outs.

The Marlins tied it by using their speed. Hernandez broke for second, and on the steal attempt, catcher Kelly Shoppach's throw sailed into center field. The error allowed Velazquez to trot home with the tying run.

Through the years, David Wright has certainly done his share of damage against the Marlins. The Mets' slugger has especially posted big numbers against Nolasco.

In the first inning, Wright struck again.

After Daniel Murphy doubled, Wright smacked a two-run homer to left-center. It was his 19th blast of the season.

Wright now has six career homers off Nolasco, his most against any pitcher.

But after the homer, Nolasco was impressive.

"I was just trying to keep those guys off balance," the Marlins right-hander said. "That's a really good lineup. A lot of those guys are tough outs -- tough battles they gave me. It was tough pitching down, 2-0. You can't change some things. You gotta really go out there and mix it up. You can't go out there throwing first-pitch fastballs like when you've got a big lead."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.