After Koehler's gem, Ozuna wins it for Miami
Starter tosses eight shutout innings; sacrifice fly earns Marlins a sweep
MIAMI -- The Marlins rushed the field in the aftermath of a walk-off victory for the third time in four games, after Giancarlo Stanton scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Marcell Ozuna. And what went through manager Mike Redmond's mind?
Instead of celebrating, Redmond turned his attention to the jumbotron, where the scene from the 1993 film where Robin Williams is dancing with a broom was playing to symbolize the sweep of the Mets.
"That goes back to when I played, and whenever we swept a team, [the jumbotron would show] that scene where he's dancing with the broom," Redmond said. "We didn't have a lot of sweeps last year, so we didn't see Mrs. Doubtfire very often."
The Marlins saw Mrs. Doubtfire twice on their 8-1 homestand, starting with a sweep of the Braves. Their 17-5 record at Marlins Park is the best 22-game home start to a season since the 1997 World Series-winning squad had the same mark.
Ozuna had struck out his previous three times at the plate before driving home the winning run. Juan Lagares made a strong throw to the first-base side of the bag, but catcher Anthony Recker dropped the ball as he turned to tag Stanton.
"I thought the ball was going to go over second base for a base hit," Ozuna said. "Then I see the center fielder behind the ball, and I said, 'Oh my God.' [Lagares has] a good arm. I thought he was going to get the out at home.
"Me and [Adeiny Hechavarria] were talking about walk-offs, and how we've never done that in the big leagues. When I was on deck, he told me, 'Me or you.' I said, 'OK, I got it.' It feels great."
Stanton singled to lead off the ninth inning, and Casey McGehee followed with a walk. With two on and nobody out, Garrett Jones flied out to right field to advance Stanton to third.
"Walk-off wins, as tough as they are to be on the other end of them, when you start playing well, you sort of anticipate that in the ninth inning you have a chance to win the game," Redmond said. "It's a huge confidence boost. It just sets a tone and reaffirms the fact that we can win a ballgame in the ninth inning at home when we want to."
Closer Steve Cishek (3-1) earned the win for Miami after pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning, which he finished off by striking out David Wright looking.
For the moment, the Marlins (19-15), winners of four straight, were tied with the Braves atop the NL East. Atlanta plays the Cardinals at Turner Field tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET.
|"It's a huge confidence boost. It just sets a tone and reaffirms the fact that we can win a ballgame in the ninth inning at home when we want to."|
|-- Marlins manager Mike Redmond|
Tom Koehler was masterful in locking down a struggling Mets offense. He pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five while walking one. Sixty-two of his 95 pitches went for strikes.
Koehler retired 18 consecutive Mets beginning with the final out of the first inning, a strikeout of Curtis Granderson. The streak was snapped by a two-out walk to Granderson in the seventh. Koehler was economical in his pitch count early, allowing him to go deep into the game. Only one of his five strikeouts came before the sixth inning.
"[I was] moving the fastball around and threw some early-count breakers, and [expanded the strike zone] when we needed to," Koehler said. "[I was] just trying to attack them and force the issue and contact."
Koehler's strong outing comes a day after Henderson Alvarez pitched a 3-0 shutout against these same Mets.
"We have friendly competition," Koehler says. "We all want to go out there and do a little better than the other one."
Miami pitching held New York scoreless the final 23 innings of the series.
The Marlins mustered just two hits against Mets starter Zack Wheeler. Wheeler struck out seven but walked five, including three in the sixth inning, leading to his exit after that frame.
"The fortunate thing for us was that we were able to grind on him a little bit, get his pitch count up and get him out of the game," Redmond said. "That, for me, was going to be the key, whereas Tommy was able to keep his pitch count down and get through the eighth inning."
The Marlins now embark on their longest road trip of the season -- 11 games in 11 days on the West Coast against the Padres, Dodgers and Giants. In Thursday's opener against San Diego, Jacob Turner makes his second start since coming off the disabled list.