Marlins come up short in finale with Mets

BY foxsports • September 23, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Marlins left New York with a much better chance of finishing last in the NL East than when they arrived.

Ruben Tejada singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning to give the New York Mets a 3-2 victory over Miami on Sunday, their seventh straight against the Marlins. The three-game sweep made Miami 4-11 against the Mets this season.

That's not how it was supposed to go in the year they splashed out on four new players who have been All-Stars to go along with their new name, uniforms and ballpark.

They weren't far off from ending their streak and setting up a season-ending series in Miami as a fight to avoid the cellar. But now the Marlins are 3 1-2 games back and need to make up a half game on New York just to have something, however small, to play for.

Scott Hairston led off the ninth with a single, took second on a passed ball by Rob Brantly, and was safe at third when pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin beat the throw on what would have been an inning-ending double play. Instead, pinch-hitter Fred Lewis was intentionally walked after Valdespin was allowed to take second.

"This game's about inches," Guillen said of Valdespin's play to beat the throw.

Tejada lined a pitch from right-hander Ryan Webb (4-3) into shallow left field and sprinted toward first with his finger in the air as the rest of the Mets poured out of the dugout.

"Webb is a way better pitcher against righties than lefties. We took a chance and thought it was the best matchup," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Unfortunately, the kid got a base hit. But you've got first base open and in the past I've seen him get more righties out than lefties. That's why we made the move."

David Wright hit a two-run homer in the first and Bobby Parnell (5-4) pitched the top of the ninth for the win.

"He guessed right there and didn't miss it," Miami starter Ricky Nolasco said. "That's a really good team. Those guys are tough outs."

Mets starter Chris Young had another nice start at home, but he still hasn't won a game at Citi Field this season.

On Sunday, he allowed one earned run in six innings, but a throwing error by catcher Kelly Shoppach allowed the tying run to score. Young struck out five and walked two.

The Mets are 3 1-2 games ahead of the Marlins out of last place in the NL East. The Mets are 11-4 against the Marlins this season. Nolasco struck out five in seven innings, allowing five hits and two runs.

In Nolasco's previous four starts, he was 3-0 with four earned runs and 20 strikeouts against one walk in 30 innings.

"Ricky pitched well," Guillen said. "Pitched very well. One bad pitch, a home run. But after that pitch, he pitched a good game."

Young has been a brighter spot than his record would indicate. In 11 of his 19 starts, he's allowed two or fewer earned runs, but is 4-3 with four no-decisions. He has struck out more than two batters for every one he's walked and worked his way into a spot as a reliable starter heading into next season.

On Sunday, he had one bad inning, and a sacrifice fly and an error were enough to tie the game. Brantly and Gil Velazquez led off the fifth with singles and after they were bunted over, Bryan Peterson hit a sacrifice fly that scored a run and moved Velazquez to third. Gorkys Hernandez singled and stole second base, drawing a throw from Shoppach that sailed into center field, tying the game.

At Citi Field this season, Young has seven quality starts in which he's 0-4.

Wright put the Mets ahead in the first inning with a two-run homer to left-center field against Nolasco. It was the sixth homer of his career against Nolasco. Wright is 25 for 63 against the Marlins righty.

NOTES: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi is set to face Atlanta on Tuesday following an off day. ... Former Mets star Jose Reyes walked to start the third, stole second and went to third on a passed ball. He was nearly picked off, but wound up being stranded instead. ... A fan down the right field line wore a Santa Claus outfit. Santa was seen leaping at a foul ball hit by Wright, but it was over the fan's head.