Marlins 7, Mets 3
NEW YORK (AP)—Carlos Beltran took a big swing, hit a soft popup and barely left the batter’s box. He just stood there sulking, watching—and it only got worse.
Beltran’s lack of hustle allowed the Florida Marlins to turn an embarrassing double play Saturday in a 7-3 victory over the Mets, surely not the kind of effort New York expects from its $119 million center fielder.
“There’s nothing to say. Everyone saw that play. I’m sure he’s embarrassed by it. I just want to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
Beltran hit a two-run double, but he had an up-and-down performance— appropriately—on his own bobblehead day. The Mets fell back to .500 and last place in the NL East.
The speedy switch-hitter doubled in the first and made a diving catch in the second. But he failed to run out a weak popup in the third, and first baseman Carlos Delgado alertly let the ball drop so he could start a 3-6-3 double play.
“Take a chance. Columbus did, discovered America,” Delgado said. “It just worked out well for us—caught a break there.”
Beltran was booed by the crowd of 41,290—then cheered after his two-run double with two outs in the fifth gave the Mets a 3-1 lead.
But at the end of the day, it was his lackadaisical blunder that stood out.
“I was surprised,” Beltran said. “When I hit the ball, first I was assuming he was going to catch the ball. And when he let it drop, it was too late.”
Moehler (3-6) got help from his bullpen after allowing three runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings. He was 0-5 in his previous eight starts, getting only 1.58 runs of support per game.
“This is one game that we owed him,” Lo Duca said. “We owe him a couple more.”
“It all evens out,” Moehler said. “It was good to get some runs.”
Kris Benson (6-3) failed to hold a two-run lead and lost for the first time in six starts. He gave up five runs—three earned—and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander was 6-1 with a 3.10 ERA in his previous nine starts.
The Marlins started the sixth with four straight singles, the last by Encarnacion to drive in a run.
Damion Easley’s RBI groundout tied it at 3, and Benson had a chance to escape further damage when Alex Gonzalez hit a potential double-play ball to shortstop. But Offerman couldn’t come up with Marlon Anderson’s low relay, and the go-ahead run scored on his error.
“He just dropped the ball,” Randolph said.
Gonzalez stole second and third, then scored on Lo Duca’s single to make it 5-3.
“I take that approach, that I’m going to play. I don’t want to get caught off-guard,” said Lo Duca, who was supposed to get the day off. “I’m ready to come in the game regardless if it’s 10-0 or 2-1.”
With the bases loaded in the ninth, Mets reliever Danny Graves hit Encarnacion with his first pitch. Gonzalez added an RBI infield single, making it 7-3.
“You don’t give them outs. A team like the Marlins, they have quality hitters and quality runners,” Mets catcher Mike Piazza said. “We should have come out and shut the door. We didn’t do that. We gave them some insurance runs.”
Encarnacion has reached base safely in 10 consecutive plate appearances, tying the club record set by Derrek Lee in September 2002.
“I’ve seen him do this before,” Moehler said. “When he’s going good, he goes the other way.”
Florida went ahead in the first when Juan Pierre led off with a single, stole second and scored on Encarnacion’s two-out single.
David Wright doubled to start the New York fifth, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Benson’s single through a drawn-in infield. Benson is 6-for-19 (.316) this season with four RBIs.
Jose Reyes singled before Beltran’s double off the base of the right-field fence.
As expected, rookie Scott Olsen will start for Florida on Monday against Milwaukee instead of struggling LHP Al Leiter. … Benson dropped to 4-1 in eight career starts against Florida. … Offerman, called up from Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday, was making his first start for the Mets. … New York activated Cairo from the disabled list before the game and optioned OF Victor Diaz to Triple-A Norfolk. … Nathan’s hot dog eating champion Takeru Kobayashi threw out the first pitch.