Since the opening of Marlins Park, the Mets and Marlins have played a bunch of strange baseball games in the venue. And more often than not, it seemed, the Mets would end up on the losing end of those games. But last night in Miami, both teams played a pretty poor game, yet the Mets pulled of a late-inning comeback and got out of the game with a win.
In this game, Bartolo Colon got the start and was clearly not the good version of himself right out of the gate. Martin Prado tagged him for a solo home run to open the scoring in the game in the bottom of the first, and several of the outs Colon recorded were of the hard-hit variety. And in the second inning, he was charged with an unearned run, though he did set the stage for his catcher to fail miserably.
With the bases loaded after a single, double, and walk, Marlins pitcher Justin Nicolino—a bad hitter even by pitcher’s standards—grounded a ball to Wilmer Flores at third base. Flores juggled it just a bit and decided to throw home. It wasn’t an orthodox play, but in the split-second in which he had to make that decision, he apparently felt most comfortable guaranteeing the Marlins wouldn’t score on the play. But Kevin Plawecki wasn’t prepared for that at all. He caught the throw, but he wasn’t standing on home plate to get the easy force out, and he made a half-attempt at tagging the runner, too. As a result, the run scored.
Colon got out of that inning with one of those loud outs on a line drive to second and a ground out to third, and despite looking very hittable early, he cruised through the third, fourth, and fifth innings. He now has a 3.27 ERA and 3.74 FIP on the season, which is pretty good for a fifth starter.
Plawecki’s nightmare of a night had only gotten started with that play at home plate. He led off the top of the third inning with a double only to immediately get picked off on a fake wheel play at second base. Later in the game, he came up three times with men on base. He popped out in foul territory to the shortstop the first time and struck out swinging the other two. He did draw a walk as the Mets put together a couple of ninth-inning insurance runs, but it was a pretty dreadful night for him.
Down 2-0, the Mets chipped away. James Loney drove in a run with a single in the fourth. Michael Conforto, who got the start because Yoenis Cespedes was scratched with hip soreness, had been in an awful slump but tied the game up with a sac fly in the sixth.
Hansel Robles did his best to undo that comeback, as he issued two two-out walks in the bottom of that inning and served up a double that fortunately only plated one run. That was the end up of Robles’s outing, as Jerry Blevins was called upon to face the pinch-hitting Ichiro Suzuki. And Ichiro hit a line drive to left-center that looked certain to score the runners on second and third and potentially end up in a triple, but Juan Lagares closed an incredible amount of ground and made a spectacular diving catch.
Lagares didn’t make it through the rest of that game because he hurt his thumb on that catch, but he stayed in the game to single and steal second the following inning. But he came out in the eighth after Michael Conforto tied the game with a single to score James Loney. With two outs, Matt Reynolds hit for Lagares against the right-handed Kyle Barraclough, and Reynolds came through with a single to give the Mets a 4-3 lead.
After another fantastic outing by Addison Reed in the eighth, the Mets tacked on two run in the top of the ninth on a bases loaded automatic double from Alejandro De Aza, who had pinch hit in the eighth and remained in the game to play center field afterwards. That gave the Mets a 6-3 lead and made it not-too-concerning when Jeurys Familia allowed one run to score in the ninth before finishing off the save with a strikeout of Marcell Ozuna.
With the Washington Nationals' loss to the Cincinnati Reds, the Mets are now just a game out of first place in the National League East.
SB Nation GameThreads
* Amazin' Avenue GameThread
* Fish Stripes GameThread
Win Probability Added
Big winners: James Loney, +32.2% WPA, Matt Reynolds, +27.2% WPA, Wilmer Flores, +15.8% WPA, Addison Reed, +13.6% WPA
Big losers: Kevin Plawecki, -20.2% WPA, Wilmer Flores, -18.3% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, -11.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Matt Reynolds hits a go-ahead single in the eighth, +27.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Miguel Rojas hits a go-ahead double in the sixth, -19.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +8.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: +42.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Alejandro De Aza