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Mets rally in 9th to beat slumping Marlins

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets showed off an ability to absorb bad news throughout their three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins, capped by a walk-off win Thursday.

But that success on the field didn't keep the bad news from coming off of it, as Mike Pelfrey announced after the Mets' 3-2 win Thursday, he was "99 percent" certain he would have season-ending Tommy John elbow ligament surgery.

The Mets pulled off a last-at-bat win with four walks and Kirk Nieuwenhuis' game-winning hit in the ninth. They had tied the game when Justin Turner outlasted Marlins closer Heath Bell in a 13-pitch at-bat for a RBI walk.

But the celebration on the field was muted in the clubhouse by the news that Pelfrey was headed to see noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Pelfrey said he was told a non-surgical alternative treatment for his injured right elbow would have yielded "an 80 percent chance I was still going to have surgery. I thought it was the best case for me to just go ahead and do it. I'm supposed to go down and visit Andrews personally. We'll go from there, but I think surgery is about 99 percent."

Pelfrey had been placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with what the Mets called elbow inflammation, but after an MRI, the decision was made to send Pelfrey to see Andrews. Despite Pelfrey saying he felt more tightness than pain, manager Terry Collins said the injury could have caused more damage if Pelfrey continued to pitch

"The prognosis was not very good," Collins said.

It was the latest piece of frustrating injury news for a team that has received plenty this year and last. The club is also currently without outfielders Jason Bay and Andres Torres.

But Turner, who illustrated a sense of the Mets' stubborn determination by fouling off pitch after pitch in the ninth, said the team's chemistry has helped the Mets avoid a woe-is-me feeling.

On a day when the Mets boasted of playing their first fully homegrown lineup since 1971, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Turner said the players who have developed together have bonded.

"Everyone believes in each other," Turner said of the Mets, who have started the season 11-8 despite the injuries and low expectations. "They made a big deal out of having nine homegrown players to start; they're nine pretty good players. There's a confidence in our clubhouse."

There was a lot more confidence than in the Marlins' star-studded clubhouse, where a bevy of offseason signings haven't prevented the struggling Marlins from losing five straight, putting them at 7-11.

Among those most frustrated was former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who continued to struggle on the field and with his old fans. The Marlins' free-agent acquisition went 0-for-4 to drop his season average to .205, and was booed every step of the way while going 1-for-12 in the series.

"I mean, not too good; we lost all three games," Reyes said of how the series went. Before the game, Reyes admitted the extent of the booing made him "a little bit surprised because when I was there, I gave it everything I had.

"If the fans don't appreciate that, that's their problem," he said in a matter-of-fact tone. "I don't have any hard feelings."

A frustrated Bell had plenty of hard feelings about his ninth inning, when he walked David Wright to lead off the inning and also walked Ike Davis and Josh Thole with one out before Turner outlasted him during the epic at-bat.

"I was throwing pitches that I thought they were going to swing at; I wasn't trying to throw strikes," Bell said of part of his strategy in the inning, in not wanting to give in once he fell behind in the count. "I did walk some guys, but it was kind of by design. I threw a lot of good pitches. You've got to give credit where credit's due. Yeah, I did walk some guys, we're gonna dwell on that.

"There were a couple calls that didn't go my way."

Turner, who was told by Collins the previous inning he would hit with two men on in the eighth, instead told his manager his optimistic streak didn't live up to the eventual reality, as the bases were loaded. The utility infielder took pride in winning the contest of wills, calling it "a nice little showdown. I won that one. We'll see what happens next time."

After Turner tied the game with his walk, Bell retired pinch-hitter Scott Hairston on a fielder's choice. But Nieuwenhuis continued his hot start on the season, drilling a ball over right fielder Giancarlo Stanton's head for the game-winning hit.

The rally erased the Marlins' 2-1 lead, built on Gaby Sanchez's home run and another run that came when he hit into a double play that allowed Omar Infante to score after Infante doubled in the fifth.

The Mets had scored their first run in the first, when Nieuwenhuis tripled and Ruben Tejada brought him home with a sacrifice fly.

Jonathon Niese avoided the loss after giving up two runs in seven innings while Ramon Ramirez got the victory. Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco's seven innings of one-run ball were the latest wasted effort by a Marlins starter.

Miami continued its offensive slump -- it's scored just six runs in its previous 48 innings with its top three hitters going 4-for-57 on the road trip.

NOTES: C Josh Thole extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games. ... Marlins RHP Carlos Zambrano (0-1, 2.84 ERA) will face Diamondbacks LHP Joe Saunders (1-1, 1.29) Friday, as the Marlins begin a four-game home series vs. Arizona.
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