NEW YORK (AP) — In the longest major league game in more than three years, Adeiny Hechavarria hit an RBI single in the 20th inning and the Miami Marlins outlasted the New York Mets 2-1 on Saturday, well after Matt Harvey left with lower back tightness following another stingy start.
Steve Cishek retired Daniel Murphy on a fly ball to the left-field warning track for the final out of a game that took 6 hours, 25 minutes. It started 5 hours before the Belmont Stakes about 13 miles away — and still ended around an hour after winner Palace Malice crossed the finish line.
The last big league game to last as long also involved the Mets, according to STATS. It came when they beat St. Louis 2-1 in 20 innings on April 17, 2010.
It was the longest game by far in the history of Citi Field, which opened in 2009, and it matched the longest in Marlins history — a 7-6 loss to the Cardinals in 20 innings on April 27, 2003.
Harvey and Miami’s prized rookie, Jose Fernandez, hooked up in a pitchers’ duel early. And when neither punchless lineup could break a 1-all tie, the only savior for both teams was that neither had played since Wednesday, so they had fresh arms in the bullpen.
By the 13th inning, the game had been turned over to a pair of starters: Miami’s Kevin Slowey and Shaun Marcum for the Mets. Both were originally scheduled to start Saturday before getting skipped when Friday night’s game was rained out.
A scattered crowd of 20,338 had dwindled perhaps into the hundreds by the time the stadium sound system played Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place To Go,” not long after the 14th-inning stretch.
Some of the fans who remained chanted “Let’s Go Home!” as the Mets came to bat in the 17th. But it took three more innings to decide this one, and it was Miami that came out on top.
Placido Polanco, Rob Brantly and Hechavarria hit consecutive singles with one out in the 20th off Marcum (0-7), who had retired 16 in a row to that point. He gave up five hits in eight stellar innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Slowey (2-5) was just as tough. He struck out eight and walked none in seven shutout innings before Cishek got three straight outs for his sixth save.
Inept at the plate, the Mets went 0 for 19 with runners in scoring position — a team record. They stranded 22 on the bases.
After taking all three games from the Mets at home last weekend for their first sweep of the season, the last-place Marlins improved to 7-3 against New York this year. They are 10-41 against everyone else.
Harvey singled in the seventh and seemed to run somewhat gingerly to second base on an inning-ending groundout. He warmed up for the eighth, but then there was a mass meeting on the mound that included a trainer, manager Terry Collins and the entire Mets infield.
Harvey finally gave up the ball — reluctantly, it appeared — and walked to the dugout. Brandon Lyon was given all the time he needed to get loose, then he wriggled out of a jam to keep the score tied.
It was the eighth no-decision in the last nine starts for Harvey, who threw 93 pitches and remains 5-0. He gave up one run and six hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
New York nearly won it in the 12th, but Murphy got a slow break off third on Marlon Byrd’s fly toward the right-field line and was thrown out at the plate by Marcell Ozuna. Murphy plowed hard into Brantly, who held onto the ball in his bare hand as he was sent flying — along with a couple of pieces of catcher’s equipment.
So on it went, the teams with the two lowest batting averages in the majors unable to break through against the other’s shaky bullpen.
Rained out the previous two nights, the Mets finally got back on the field under clear skies in Queens with a gametime temperature of 77 degrees.
Miami also was idle the past two days — an off day Thursday followed by Friday night’s washout that was rescheduled as part of a single-admission doubleheader Sept. 14 at Citi Field.
Ike Davis drew a leadoff walk in the second inning and scored from first base on rookie Juan Lagares’ double. Lagares, playing shallow in center, also threw out Hechavarria at the plate on Pierre’s two-out single in the fifth.
Miami tied it in the fourth on Chris Coghlan’s sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Brantly and John Buck both caught the entire game. Brantly finished with four hits, while Buck went 2 for 8. … Several injured Marlins are getting close to coming off the disabled list, including 1B Logan Morrison, OF Giancarlo Stanton, INF Donovan Solano and INF Joe Mahoney. “That will probably help us out,” manager Mike Redmond said. … After missing one turn with a sore shoulder, Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (3-5) is set to start the series finale Sunday against RHP Tom Koehler (0-4), who went to nearby New Rochelle High School and Stony Brook University.