Marlins rally late to take opener from Mets

Marlins rally late to take opener from Mets

Marlins rally late to take opener from Mets
MIAMI -- As the Marlins wind down a disappointing season, the team showed glimpses of a bright future on Monday night.

Rob Brantly, acquired in a trade in July, drove in the winning run in the eighth inning as the Marlins opened their final series of the season with a 3-2 comeback win against the Mets in front of 24,543 at Marlins Park.

Brantly, Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Reyes, all of whom will factor into the Marlins' future, each drove in a run as the Marlins overcame a two-run deficit and snapped a two-game losing streak.

"Winning is infectious," said Brantly, obtained from the Tigers as part of the Omar Infante/Anibal Sanchez trade. "It's like anything in baseball. All you need is a couple of hits, and you're on a roll. You get a couple of wins, and you can get on a roll."

In terms of the standings, the series doesn't mean anything. Miami will finish last in the National League East for the second straight year. But the club is striving to build some momentum heading into the offseason.

"I think in these last few games, it's important for us to keep competing, and winning ballgames so we can get it into our mind frames," Brantly said. "When we get into the offseason, we can say, 'Hey, we swept our last series. We know what that feels like.' It's always important to compete and continue that winning attitude."

The Mets had won seven straight in the season series. And they were in position to make it eight in a row, after going up by two runs in the sixth inning.

Miami was able to scratch out enough runs, taking advantage of the last of nine walks by New York pitching.

After pulling even at 2-2, the Marlins went in front in the eighth inning on Brantly's RBI double off Ramon Ramirez.

The Marlins were able to make the Mets pay for a walk. Carlos Lee led off the inning with a walk, and he advanced to second on a wild pitch.

Brantly went to left field with a pitch, and his opposite-field hit proved the difference.

"We haven't seen the wildness out of the bullpen," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "There's work ahead."

The big blast of the night, once again, was provided by Stanton.

Playing in just his 121st game, the 22-year-old connected on a solo home run, giving him 37 on the season. Monday's drive was a scorched liner that kept going, clearing the wall in left-center off Manny Acosta to open the sixth inning. It trimmed Miami's deficit to 2-1.

Stanton now has three homers in the first four games of the final homestand. The slugger already has the second most homers in a season by a Marlin. The club mark is 42 by Gary Sheffield in 1996.

With 93 career home runs, Stanton is tied with Frank Robinson for the fifth most in Major League history by a player before age 23.

Miami tied it at 2 in the seventh inning on Reyes' sacrifice fly to center off Jon Rauch, which scored Austin Kearns.

"I think the way we played today is the way we expected to play all year long," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It's nice to see the guys go out there and perform and not have to rely on Stanton to do the damage and put up a number. Meanwhile, we took advantage of a wild pitch and brought the guy in from third base. I think that was the key."

Wade LeBlanc made his first start since Sept. 17 because Josh Johnson was scratched due to a sore hamstring and hip flexor.

The announcement of the switch came late Monday morning, although he was told a few days ago. LeBlanc was solid in his final appearance.

"You want to play good, but first and foremost you want to win as much as you can," LeBlanc said. "That's why we're here, that's what we're here to do. Any time you can pull out a game like this, it feels good, whether it's the first game of the season, or the third to last."

The lone run LeBlanc allowed in five innings was unearned. And of his 95 pitches, 64 were strikes.

New York got on the board in the fifth inning, scoring an unearned run. Pinch-hitter Ronny Cedeno reached on third baseman Gil Velazquez's error as he tried to snare a hop on the backhand. Ruben Tejada's sacrifice bunt advanced Cedeno. Daniel Murphy's single put runners on the corners, and Wright ripped an RBI single to center.

In the sixth inning, the Mets made it 2-0 on Mike Baxter's pinch-hit RBI double off Tom Koehler. Kelly Shoppach doubled to open the inning, and scored.

New York starter Jeurys Familia had a wild start, but the Marlins were unable to capitalize. The right-hander walked six in four innings, but gave up just one hit, a single to Gorkys Hernandez in the first inning.

He exited after four innings, throwing 75 pitches, with just 33 for strikes.

"Very nice baseball game today," Guillen said. "Very exciting, very well played. I think we pitched well. We got a couple hits when we needed it. In crucial situations, we got big hits today."

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.