Marlins cash in on Mets' many miscues in opener

Combined with Milwaukee's loss, Miami now 5 1/2 back in WC race

Marlins cash in on Mets' many miscues in opener

MIAMI -- The Marlins took advantage of six Mets errors, three of which were committed during the decisive eighth inning, to kick off their six-game homestand with a 9-6 win at Marlins Park on Monday. Combined with the Brewers' 4-2 loss to the Cubs, Miami moved within 5 1/2 games of the second National League Wild Card spot.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, after leading off the inning with a ball hit so sharply to left fielder Eric Campbell that it deflected off his glove for a double. With Adeiny Hechavarria on third and one out, Donovan Solano laid down a squeeze bunt that reliever Jeurys Familia threw away, allowing Hechavarria to score.

The Marlins eventually loaded the bases and were able to score again when reliever Erik Goeddel walked in another run. But Garrett Jones, who scored two runs and drove in another in the game, grounded into a double play to end the threat.

That was all they needed in the see-saw affair, though. Closer Steve Cishek threw a perfect ninth inning and the win was awarded to A.J. Ramos, one of five relievers who pitched in the game after starter Henderson Alvarez exited with a left oblique strain. Alvarez is listed as day to day.

"We were able to hang in there," manager Mike Redmond said. "It wasn't perfect. We got another lead, we coughed up another lead. I felt like I logged 2 1/2 miles from the dugout to the mound running guys in and out. But we kept us in the game and got some big hits, great at-bats."

Before the late-inning drama, Giancarlo Stanton gave the Marlins a head start in the first inning when he swatted a ball into the nightclub beyond the left-field wall for his 34th homer and 99th RBI of the season. Miami added another run in the second on a Marcell Ozuna triple to deep center field that scored Jones, who was aboard via a leadoff walk.

But the cushion was short-lived.

While their opponents didn't turn in a clean game, the Marlins weren't flawless with their own play, as well. The miscues started after Alvarez, who retired the first six batters he faced on only 23 pitches, allowed the first hitter of the third, rookie Dilson Herrera, to take him deep for his first Major League homer.

The next batter, Wilmer Flores, singled to bring up Mets starter Zack Wheeler to try to bunt him over. When Wheeler executed the sacrifice -- chopping the ball on the first-base side -- Alvarez aggressively tried to get the lead runner and start a double play. The throw, however, was late and Wheeler was also safe at first.

Alvarez, despite allowing the following two hitters to reach safely, got the first out of the inning on a force play at second base. But he couldn't stop the Mets from loading the bases, nor could he keep David Wright -- who entered the game with a .327 average in 170 career games against the Marlins -- from putting New York ahead with a two-run single hit to Ozuna in center.

That's not where the play ended, though, as another run scored when Ozuna airmailed his throw to third into the Marlins' dugout.

"I'm not sure how to describe [this game]," Redmond said. "We haven't played too many of those. It was back and forth. We came out and jumped on them, and Henderson's got the oblique [problem]. ... You could just tell today wasn't his day. We tried to give him a couple innings to get going, and he just couldn't get it going."

Alvarez was pulled out of the game immediately after the sequence, and Brad Hand was brought on in relief. He got the Marlins out of the jam and allowed only three hits over his next two innings. The bats then came alive in the fifth inning -- delivering three runs on three hits, effectively erasing Alvarez from the decision and putting Hand in line for a win, for the time being.

"I will tell you this. After that third inning, guys were hot," Redmond said. "Many guys, including myself, were vocal about the way we were playing. After that, I saw guys turn it up. We turned it up. That was good to see."

But the 3 1/2-hour game saw the Marlins surrender the lead one more time in the sixth inning. Hand got the first out of the frame, then allowed two straight singles -- with both runners coming around to score when Herrera hit the first triple of his career off reliever Sam Dyson.

As was the trend on Monday, the Marlins didn't stay down long. Christian Yelich hit an RBI single in the home half of the inning to tie the game a final time. This ended up being a precursor to the 32nd save of Cishek's season -- his first since Aug. 16 against the D-backs.

"Our bullpen stepped up big time today," said third baseman Casey McGehee, who extended his hitting streak to five games with a 2-for-3, two-RBI afternoon. "Hopefully, Alvarez is OK. But you could tell he wasn't his normal self when he was out there. Brad Hand did a good job of coming in keeping us within striking distance, the same with the rest of the guys. Lot of good at-bats up and down the order. That's what we're going to have to continue to do to have any kind of chance."

Maria Torres is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.