At first pitch, the Mets were 10 games under .500 and the Marlins started the night with six fewer wins than New York. The play on the field left a lot to be desired, with the Mets and Marlins at times showing why they occupy the bottom two spots in the National League East.
So while this was not by any means an epic matchup, for those like me who consider baseball to be the No. 1 sport -- and that's said with no disrespect toward any of the others -- what we saw last night at Marlins Park in Miami reminded us how easily games can be won or lost.
A few examples:
In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the Mets ahead 3-1 and Jeremy Hefner struggling (5 1/3 innings, five runs, four hits, five walks on the night), the Marlins had the bases loaded and two outs. Hefner got pitcher Jacob Turner to ground to short, but shortstop Omar Quintanilla booted the ball and two runs scored. That error could have lost the game for the Mets.
The play of the game, the one that won't show up in its entirety in the box score, happened when Ike Davis ripped a double down the right-field line with two outs in the seventh inning. Marlon Byrd, who had just singled in a run, scored all the way from first base. It was the ultimate hustle play. If Byrd let up for a second, he wouldn't have made it home safely. His hustle won the game for the Mets.
For baseball fans, it doesn't get much better than what we saw in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the tying run on third and the winning run on first, Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton came to bat against Mets closer Bobby Parnell. On the Mets' telecast on SNY TV, Gary Cohen brought up the possibility of walking Stanton, with Ron Darling saying he'd let Parnell pitch to him. That's what the Mets did, and on the first pitch Stanton grounded out to second to end the game.
It took 3 hours and 26 minutes, but the Mets won 6-5. The Marlins could just as easily have been the ones celebrating.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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