John Buck was one of three Mets who failed to come through with a runner on third base in the eighth – an inning punctuated by Marlins reliever Chad Qualls’ tumble that had his teammates laughing.
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Buck didn’t miss on his next chance, and no one was smiling in the Miami dugout.
The Mets catcher hit a tiebreaking two-run single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, lifting New York to a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
”When I came up I kind of had a similar situation with (Steve) Cishek, who is more funky, I said all right, just stick with that approach,” Buck said. ”He left it over the plate and I got the results I wanted this time.”
The Mets threatened in the eighth when Marlon Byrd led off with a triple but Qualls struck out Ike Davis, got Buck to ground out and, two batters later, struck out Omar Quintanilla to end the inning.
Leaving the mound after the strike-three call against Quintanilla, Qualls punched the air in celebration as he headed toward the Marlins’ dugout. But as he threw the punch, he snagged his right cleat in the infield grass, his own forward momentum sending him tumbling to the ground.
Qualls appeared uninjured. He bounced up quickly and continued to the dugout, where he covered his face in a towel and laughed with teammates.
”As soon as I saw the fist pump I put my head down,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. ”That’s one of those if you win that game, you can watch it. But since we lost it’s not quite as funny.”
Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Juan Lagares had three hits and two RBIs for the Mets.
Donovan Solano and Jake Marisnick had consecutive RBI singles after Ed Lucas got Miami’s first hit with one out in the seventh to tie it 2-all.
”I did get a little rushed after that,” Wheeler said. ”I probably let down my guard just a little bit, but it’s a learning experience.”
Wheeler allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked three while throwing 64 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
”That might have been as dominant of a performance through six innings that I’ve seen all year from anybody,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Scott Atchison (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the victory and Bobby Parnell pitched the 10th for his 22nd save in 26 opportunities.
Cishek (3-6) allowed two runs and three hits in two innings. Cishek retired the Mets in order in the ninth before allowing back-to-back singles by David Wright and Marlon Byrd to begin the 10th.
Cishek then walked Davis to load the bases for Buck, who drove in Wright and Byrd with a base hit up the middle for a 4-2 lead.
Parnell walked one in the ninth before earning his second save in two days.
Wheeler, a 23-year old rookie making his eighth major league start, retired the first 11 batters he faced before walking Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth.
”I felt smooth throughout my mechanics, my rhythm was good, good tempo in between pitches, everything was just clicking well and I was hitting my spots,” Wheeler said. ”I did get away with a few mistakes tonight, but it happens. Sometimes you get away with them and sometimes you don’t. Tonight was just one of those nights.”
After a walk to Logan Morrison, Lucas broke up Wheeler’s no-hit bid with a hard-hit one-out single to right in the seventh. Solano and Marisnick each singled in a run to tie it 2-2.
”I was just trying to put a good swing on a fastball,” Lucas said. ”He was pretty overpowering up to that point. I wasn’t trying to do too much. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run or anything. I was just trying to get on base.”
Wheeler got Jeff Mathis to bounce into a double play to get out of the jam ending his night.
Wright led off the fourth with a double and Buck walked with two outs before Lagares tripled to right-center field to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed two runs, four hits, and five walks in six innings. He struck out four.
”It was rough tonight,” Eovaldi said. ”I have to work ahead. My fastball command wasn’t there. I was off the plate, just a rough one.”
NOTES: Lagares is hitting .369 (24 of 65) with 13 RBIs in 21 games in July. … Marlins LF Christian Yelich went 0-for-4 batting lead-off for the first time and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats. … Miami reliever Steve Ames made his major league debut in the seventh. … RHP Henderson Alvarez (1-1, 2.64 ERA) will start Wednesday’s game for the Marlins against Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 0.00 ERA).