Florida shortstop Alex Gonzalez tripled in two runs with two outs in the ninth inning Tuesday to lift the Marlins to a 3-1 victory.
The Marlins won for the 10th time in 12 games and moved a season-high 15 games above .500 (80-65), remaining deadlocked for the wild-card lead with Philadelphia, which routed Atlanta 18-5 on Tuesday.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Florida first baseman Derrek Lee. “September is when you’re making offseason plans already. But right now, we’re in it.”
Gonzalez, who homered in Monday’s series opener, got the winning hit when his shot to center narrowly eluded the diving attempt made by Mets outfielder Raul Gonzalez.
“You almost get the feeling that when we’re in a close game, no one worries, we’re going to win it,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “Half the bench was on the field when Lee and them guys scored. They were excited.”
New York has lost six straight games, four of which have come in its opponents’ final at-bat.
“It’s getting redundant,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “Every night we get good starting pitching. But when you get no offense it’s pretty hard to win. It’s the same old, same old.”
STANDINGS: Marlins - tied for 2nd place, 11 GB, NL East. Mets - 5th place, 28 1/2 GB, NL East.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Mark Redman (11-9, 3.56 ERA). The left-hander has dropped five of his last seven starts, including a 6-2 loss at Montreal on Friday. The left-hander allowed four runs and four hits over six innings. He is winless in three career starts against the Mets, going 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Jae Weong Seo (8-10, 4.12 ERA). The rookie right-hander deserved a better fate Friday, allowing just one run and three hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 1-0 loss at Philadelphia. In his only previous start against Florida, Seo beat the Marlins 5-0 on June 17, going 6 2-3 innings and allowing just one hit—a fifth-inning single to Juan Encarnacion. He was removed from the game in the seventh after splitting a nail on the index finger of his pitching hand.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .327 avg.; Mike Lowell, 32 HRs and 105 RBIs; Castillo and Juan Pierre, 91 runs; Pierre, 59 SBs. Mets - Roger Cedeno, .271 avg.; Cliff Floyd, 18 HRs and 68 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 67 runs; Jose Reyes and Cedeno, 13 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Marlins, 9-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - Left-handed batters are hitting .208 against LHP Redman this season. … Florida has just seven saves in day games this season, worst in the NL. … Redman has issued 41 walks to right-handed batters this season, while walking just eight left-handers. Mets - Right-handed batters are hitting .290 against RHP Seo this season. … 3B Wigginton is 2-for-7 in his career against Redman, with one home run and three RBIs. … 1B Jason Phillips is hitting .321 against left-handers this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 34-39 on the road; Mets - 32-40 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - 3B Mike Lowell (thumb), 15-day DL; LHP Armando Almanza (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendix), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 60-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 60-day DL. Mets - SS Jose Reyes (ankle), 15-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL; OF Floyd (foot), 60-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (elbow), 60-day DL.