Marlins unable to stave off Mets' rally in finale

Despite loss, Miami comes away with first series victory of the season

Marlins unable to stave off Mets' rally in finale

MIAMI -- No late-inning heroics could rescue the Marlins, because on Wednesday afternoon, it was the Mets' turn to pull off the comeback.

Pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin belted a three-run homer, while David Wright connected on a solo shot and John Buck delivered a two-run double in New York's 7-6 victory in front of 16,188 at Marlins Park.

Miami entered the afternoon hoping to complete a three-game sweep. Early on, the Marlins were well positioned, grabbing a three-run lead in the first inning, then a 4-1 margin heading into the sixth. And lefty Wade LeBlanc was in control until the sixth inning.

But momentum changed on Valdespin's homer on a hanging changeup by A.J. Ramos.

"We couldn't hold them down," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We gave them a three-run home run, and two more runs after that. That cost us the game. That's the way it goes. Our bullpen has been great all year. Every once in a while, this is going to happen."

Though their season-best three-game winning streak was snapped, the Marlins took two of three, giving them their first series victory of the year. They now embark on a three-city, 10-game road trip, which starts on Thursday in Philadelphia, before they head west to play the Padres and Dodgers.

"The way we came out swinging the bats, our guys were aggressive," Redmond said. "We jumped on them. Wade did a nice job. We had a situation where Ramos does a great job getting lefties out, and he made a mistake.

"It's tough to sweep teams in the big leagues. Everybody wants to talk about certain parts of a game, but at the end of the day, we won a series. It's huge, and hopefully it's something we can build off as we hit this long road trip."

As they did all series, the Marlins made it interesting late. Trailing by three runs, Miami scored two unearned runs off New York reliever Scott Atchison in the seventh inning. Donovan Solano and Greg Dobbs raced home after left fielder Lucas Duda allowed Justin Ruggiano's single to bounce past him and roll to the wall.

Ruggiano raced to third as the potential tying run, but Atchison worked out of it. First, Marcell Ozuna tapped a slow roller to third, and Wright made a terrific barehanded catch and throw to get the second out at first base.

"In that situation, we're relying on the hitter to do his job," Redmond said. "We were talking about that during the game. That's a tough read [for Ruggiano]. If you commit, Wright just picks that ball up and throws home, and he's out by 10 feet. He made a great play. Really, that's one of those situations where you're looking to get the ball into the outfield, or through the infield. It didn't happen."

Chris Valaika's fly ball to center field ended the threat, which was Miami's last serious chance.

LeBlanc was in line to snap his string of seven straight decisions with a loss. The left-hander carried a 4-1 lead into the sixth inning, at which time New York scored on Marlon Byrd's two-out RBI single, which drove home Wright.

"It's basically frustrating to get spotted four runs and to let the other team creep back into it, and to let them feel like they have an extra life," LeBlanc said. "It's kind of frustrating now."

At 90 pitches, LeBlanc's afternoon was over. Ramos entered, and the Mets countered with the left-handed-hitting Valdespin to pinch-hit for Juan Lagares. Ramos elevated a 2-2 changeup that Valdespin laced over the wall in right for the game-changing three-run homer. Two of the runs were charged to LeBlanc, as Miami trailed, 5-4.

"He threw me the changeup, and then I made an adjustment and handled it," Valdespin said. "But I'm no different in that situation. I'm waiting for my time. If they want me to be a pinch-hitter, I'm ready. When they give me a chance, I'll get ready and do my job."

The Marlins struck for three runs in the first inning off Dillon Gee. Juan Pierre walked, and with one out, Dobbs drew a base on balls. Ruggiano's RBI single to right field opened the scoring, and Valaika delivered a two-run double down the left-field line.

In the fourth inning, the Mets got on the board on Wright's solo home run, his third of the season and 24th all-time against the Marlins. The New York third baseman now has 100 career RBIs versus the Marlins, his most against any club.

The Marlins bounced back with a run in the fourth, with LeBlanc scoring on a collision at home plate with Buck, his former teammate. With two outs, Pierre singled to center, and LeBlanc was waved home. Lagares made a one-hop throw home that Buck wasn't able to field cleanly.

As LeBlanc slid in safely, Buck's left knee crashed into the Miami pitcher's chest. LeBlanc initially was shaken up, but remained in the game.

"He was trying to block the plate, and he ended up blocking my chest," LeBlanc said. "He asked me if I was all right. He was playing his position. His job is to block the plate. I wouldn't expect him to apologize. I wouldn't want him to apologize. If he apologizes, then he's not doing his job."

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.