NEW YORK -- The Mets couldn't avoid pitching to Giancarlo Stanton on Sunday afternoon, and the slugger made them pay. Stanton belted a three-run homer in the seventh inning off Jacob deGrom, as the Marlins held on for a 6-4 victory in the series finale at Citi Field.Miami left-hander Adam
NEW YORK -- The Mets couldn't avoid pitching to Giancarlo Stanton on Sunday afternoon, and the slugger made them pay. Stanton belted a three-run homer in the seventh inning off Jacob deGrom, as the Marlins held on for a 6-4 victory in the series finale at Citi Field.
Miami left-hander Adam Conley posted his first career double-digit strikeout game, fanning 11 in seven innings. Yoenis Cespedes homered in the first inning, but that was the only damage Conley encountered.
"I think we're going to be pretty solid, if we don't make mistakes," Stanton said of the Marlins, now 60-62 after winning seven of nine. "We'll keep cruising. We're not worried about standings or anything right now. We've got to keep pushing the envelope and see where we are in a month."
• Masterful Conley hoping to help down stretch
In the first two games of the series, the Mets walked Stanton five times, including three free passes on Saturday night in New York's 8-1 win.
"I figure that's the next step to this," Stanton said of the frequent walks. "I've got to be even more patient, and make sure I don't miss the few [hittable pitches] I'm going to get."
Along with boosting his Major League-leading home run total to 45, Stanton has connected 19 times since the All-Star break, increasing his Marlins' franchise record. It also marked his 12th homer in August, and 21st of his career at Citi Field, the most by a Mets opponent. He now has four career home runs off deGrom, who gave up five runs in 6 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts.
In Stanton's last 39 games, he has 24 home runs and 47 RBIs.
Christian Yelich knocked a pair of RBI singles -- both down the third-base line -- to score Dee Gordon, who put himself in scoring position with a stolen base both times.
"We got a couple of big hits from Yeli, and then, obviously, the big one from G," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "But I think Adam's seven strong is really what set the tone for the whole day."
Yelich could not corral a line drive from Cespedes in a three-run eighth, opening the door for the Mets' rally after Brandon Nimmo led the inning off with a pinch-hit double to right. Wilmer Flores hit a sac fly and Travis d'Arnaud plated the Mets' final run with an RBI single.
But reliever Kyle Barraclough ended the threat by striking out rookie Amed Rosario before Brad Ziegler picked up his sixth save in six chances since moving into the closer's role in the ninth.
"We made it a game at the end, and I think it's one of those things that shows you that these guys aren't throwing in the towel," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "They're playing all nine."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Double pump costly: Mets shortstop Rosario made a rookie miscue that opened the door for Miami's four-run seventh inning. With Miguel Rojas on second and one out, Gordon grounded to Rosario. The routine play turned troublesome for the Mets as Rosario pumped before throwing, and the speedy Gordon reached with an infield single. Had Gordon been thrown out, the inning could have looked drastically different. There would have been two outs with a runner on third, and Stanton could have been walked. But with runners on the corners and one out, deGrom's next pitch -- a 92.8-mph two-seam fastball -- was sent over the wall for a three-run homer.
"That's my job," Gordon said. "That's my job to run the bases the right way, what I'm supposed to do. That's it."
deGrom acknowledged that despite needing to make a better pitch in that situation, Rosario's misplay affected his plan for attacking Stanton.
"I was trying to go in there, trying to get a ground ball, trying to jam him," deGrom said. "He didn't get it that good. He just happened to get enough. He's strong enough to get it out of the park. Gotta tip my cap to him there."
Added Stanton: "That changed the whole dynamic of my at-bat, even though it was the first pitch." More >
Ziegler shuts the door: After the Mets made it a two-run game in the eighth, Ziegler came in to preserve the lead and secure a series win for Miami in front of former closer AJ Ramos, now with New York. Despite allowing the potential tying run to come to the plate in pinch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera after Gavin Cecchini singled through the right side, Ziegler got Cabrera to roll over on an 83.7-mph sinker down and in for an easy double play to end the game.
"It's frustrating, but you gotta be able to make pitches. Everybody's trying. When Rosario didn't make that play, I put my hands up; I probably shouldn't have done that. I'll have to talk to him. That's my bad. Can't show emotion out there like that, especially when it has to do with your other players. … That one's on me." -- deGrom, on his reaction to Rosario's misplay
"I've never stopped thinking about it. I've always known if you go out there and play, games come off the board. They get hard to win. We've just been walking down the road. I just understand how hard it is to win games late in the year. If you're that team up top and you're trying to win games, those games get hard to win. I don't care if you're 10 games up with 15-18 to play. They get hard to win. So there is a pressure on those games. Really, our job is to just win our series and to give us a chance." -- Mattingly on the Marlins, with 40 games remaining, sneaking into the National League Wild Card picture
For the second straight day, Gordon blooped a pitch into the outfield. Conley, who led the third inning off with a single, got held up between first and second, as Cespedes had a 76-percent catch probability on the play. Cespedes played it off a hop and immediately fired to second, where Conley was initially ruled safe. A 51-second review overturned the call after a Mets challenge. Collins improved to 20-9 on challenges this season.
Marlins: Miami is making up an April 25 rainout with a doubleheader against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Dan Straily (7-8, 3.80 ERA) will start Game 1 for Miami, with Jose Urena (11-5, 3.61 ERA) going in the nightcap. Aaron Nola (9-8, 3.26 ERA) is scheduled to pitch one of the two games for Philadelphia.
Mets: New York still has one more series left on the homestand, as it welcomes the D-backs, who hold the NL's second Wild Card spot, for a four-game set beginning on Monday at Citi Field. Robert Gsellman (5-5, 5.98 ERA) will start against right-hander Taijuan Walker (6-7, 3.83 ERA) for the 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch. Arizona completed a three-game sweep of New York in May.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.
Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York and covered the Mets on Sunday.