"He makes it look easy," New York Mets teammate John Buck said of Valdespin's prowess as a pinch-hitter. "But it's not." Valdespin's three-run, pinch-hit homer in the sixth inning Wednesday afternoon helped the Mets rally past the Miami Marlins, 7-6, before 16,188 fans at Marlins Park. "For some reason, Jordany loves to come off the bench when the heat is on," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It's amazing but his eyes seem to get bigger, and he sees the ball better." Valdespin wasn't New York's only hero as the Mets (11-15) snapped a six-game losing streak by salvaging the last of a three-game series against Miami. David Wright had three hits, including a solo home run, and made a game-saving, bare-handed play at third base in the seventh inning. Buck had three hits and two RBI, and Bobby Parnell got his third save of the season to lead New York. Wright was especially big given that he had missed the first start of this series due to a stiff neck. "He came in yesterday and told me he wanted to play," Collins said. "He said, 'We're going through a tough time, and this is when I need to be in there.' "He's absolutely right. That's why he's our captain. He's there when you need him." Meanwhile, the Marlins (8-20) had their season-best three-game winning streak broken and still have the worst record in the National League. The Marlins might have won this game had they figured out how to stop Valdespin, who entered the game with the Mets trailing 4-2 in the sixth.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond lifted starter Wade LeBlanc, who had thrown 90 pitches and had only allowed one run. Redmond went to righty reliever A.J. Ramos, who inherited a two-on, one-out situation. Collins removed rookie center fielder Juan Lagares, and used Valdespin as a lefty pinch-hitter. Advantage: Collins. Valdespin hit a 2-2 pitch an estimated 355 feet to right field to give the Mets a 5-4 lead they never relinquished. "I threw a change-up," Ramos said. "It was a bad pitch up in the zone. He was looking for it. And he did what he's supposed to do with bad pitches - he hit it out." The Mets padded their lead with a two-run double by Buck in the seventh. The Marlins scored twice in the bottom of the inning. With runners on first and second and one out, Justin Ruggiano hit a line-drive single that got to left fielder Lucas Duda on one hop. Duda came in aggressively to try to keep the runner on second from scoring. But the ball bounced high and glanced off Duda's glove, rolling all the way to the wall. "I've never seen a ball bounce that high here," Collins said. Two runs scored, and Ruggiano got to third. But he was stranded when the next batter, rookie Marcell Ozuna, hit a slow dribbler to third. Ruggiano did not run on contact, and third baseman Wright bare-handed the ball, throwing out Ozuna. Chris Valaika then flew out to end the threat. "Tremendous play," Collins said. "Those are the plays you worry about with his neck situation because it's such an awkward play. But that's why he is a star." Redmond said he had no problem with the way Ruggiano ran the bases on that play. "In that situation, we're relying on the hitter to do his job (and get a hit)," Redmond said. "That's a tough read (for Ruggiano). Because if you commit, Wright just picks that ball up and throws it home, and he's out by 10 feet. Wright made a great play." NOTES: Two Marlins hitters are on the disabled list because of hamstring injuries, but right fielder Giancarlo Stanton figures to be out longer. The best-case scenario for Stanton is two to three weeks. More likely is that he will miss a month. Meanwhile, first baseman Joe Mahoney should return in 15 days. ... New York-area newspapers are reporting that Collins, whose contract runs out after this season, may be in jeopardy of losing his job even sooner because of the team's current slump. ... When the Mets lost to the Marlins in 15 innings on Monday, the last pitcher they used was starter Shaun Marcum. Had Marcum completed two innings, the next "pitcher" for the Mets would have been backup catcher Anthony Recker, whose only previous experience on the mound was several outings at Division III Alvernia (Pa.) University.
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