NEW YORK -- September couldn't come quickly enough for the Marlins. After a rough August, they were eager to flip the calendar, and they got off on the right track in the new month, holding off the Mets for a 6-4 win on Thursday night at Citi Field.Christian Yelich homered
NEW YORK -- September couldn't come quickly enough for the Marlins. After a rough August, they were eager to flip the calendar, and they got off on the right track in the new month, holding off the Mets for a 6-4 win on Thursday night at Citi Field.
Christian Yelich homered and drove in four runs, while José Ureña allowed one run in six innings to help the Marlins snap their five-game losing streak, while avoiding a four-game sweep by the Mets, who fell two games off the pace of the idle Cardinals in the National League Wild Card standings. Miami is now three back of St. Louis, and a half-game behind the Pittsburgh in the standings.
"You hope it's a start of something in this month," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We really had a rough August, a lot of rough games. To be able to get this one tonight, you know you have X amount of games left. You hope this starts somewhat of a roll where you start playing great baseball. That's really all it takes at this moment."
Yelich's home run was his third of the series, and all were to the opposite-field. The 24-year-old had seven homers and 22 RBIs in August, and he stayed hot on the first day of September with his homer, three hits, two stolen bases, two runs scored and four RBIs. But as a team, Miami went 10-18 in August.
"It's a new month, man," Yelich said. "August [stunk] for us. Hopefully, September is better. It was nice to get off on the right foot, and it was big for us to win this last one here and see what it can do for us."
Asdrúbal Cabrera's first career pinch-hit home run, a two-run shot off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning, closed the gap to 6-4. It was the Mets' 10th pinch-hit home run of the season, and Cabrera's second home run of the series.
After falling behind 6-1, the Mets threatened in the eighth inning, scoring on Jay Bruce's RBI single off Nick Wittgren. Kyle Barraclough entered with two on and none out, and walked Wilmer Flores, but escaped further damage when Michael Conforto bounced into a 1-2-3 double play. Pinch-hitter Yoenis Céspedes struck out on a 97-mph fastball.
Jacob deGrom, who has not logged a win since Aug. 2 against the Yankees, was lifted after five innings, giving up three runs on six hits. The right-hander struck out six, but walked four, and he finished with 102 pitches.
Bruce went deep for the first time at home with the Mets. It also was his first homer in 79 at-bats since hitting one on Aug. 6 at Detroit.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Urena's recovery, gets double play: Urena has made steady progress since rejoining the rotation. He was used mostly in relief early in the year. But after he was given a three-run lead, he allowed the home run to Bruce to open the sixth. The Mets had a chance to build momentum when Yelich dropped a fly ball, allowing Conforto to reach on an error. In a two-run game, Urena recovered, and got James Loney to bounce into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
"That's part of a baseball game," Urena said of the error. "If something happens, you have to have your mind right. Nobody wants to make a mistake. We can handle it. We can put the ball down in the zone, and get a ground ball for a double play, and the inning is over."
More struggles for deGrom: The Mets hoped extra rest would help deGrom, after he allowed 13 runs on 25 hits in just 9 2/3 innings over his last two starts. But after a 1-2-3 first inning on Thursday, the 28-year-old struggled with his command and needed 102 pitches to finish five innings. DeGrom allowed just one hit in the first three innings, but by the fifth, the Marlins were making solid contact, with back-to-back doubles from Jeff Francoeur and Xavier Scruggs driving in a pair of runs. More >
"I can't throw the ball where I want right now," deGrom said. "I've got to figure it out. ... I've got to get back to where I need to be."
Beating the odds with run-saving catch: Not only did Yelich drive in a run, the Miami outfielder also saved at least two with a diving grab on deGrom's sinking line drive with the bases loaded. In the second inning with two outs, deGrom blistered a rope to center. Yelich made a quick read, darted in and made a diving catch for the third out. According to Statcast™, the exit velocity on the drive was 97 mph, with a launch angle of 12 degrees. The data shows that ball is a hit 95.3 percent of the time. Yelich, a Gold Glove Award winner in left field in 2014, was in center because Marcell Ozuna sustained a sore left wrist after making a diving catch on Wednesday. More >
"I was kind of in on him a little bit and he hit a line drive," Yelich said. "I was able to just lay out and make the catch. Good thing I caught that one, because if it gets by me it might be an inside-the-parker, because I'm pretty far up there and he's a good athlete."
Cabrera does it again: Mets manager Terry Collins held Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes out of the lineup, hoping to keep them fresh for the stretch run. He used both as pinch-hitters, and Cabrera delivered with a homer that brought the Mets within two runs in the ninth. It was Cabrera's first home run in 24 career at-bats as a pinch-hitter, but his fifth jack overall in his last seven games.
"I know one thing, if we overplay them, we might not have them," Collins said.
"They were on me. But they're on me all the time out here, actually, so I think they're all pretty happy to see that. Send the people home happy, I guess. We got the win tonight, but they let me hear about it, teammates let me hear about it. You can laugh about it because it didn't cost us anything." -- Yelich, on being razzed by fans, teammates after his error in sixth inning
Ichiro Suzuki's speed prolonged the third inning for the Marlins, and led to a run. With one out and Dee Gordon on first, Ichiro chopped a grounder to second, and the Mets turned what initially was called an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. But Miami challenged, and after a review of 53 seconds, the call was overturned.
It turned out being a key overturn, because Ichiro scored on Yelich's RBI single.
In the seventh, a crew-chief review confirmed Yelich's opposite-field, three-run homer had cleared the orange stripe atop the wall.
The Mets got a key replay overturn in the ninth when Travis d'Arnaud was ruled out on a slow grounder to second, but a review overturned the call to a single.
Marlins: Right-hander Andrew Cashner (4-10, 4.73 ERA) will start off the weekend Interleague series against the Indians on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Cashner was skipped one start due to a blister-related issue on his right third finger. Carlos Carrasco (9-7, 3.23) takes the mound for the Indians at Progressive Field.
Mets: Right-hander Noah Syndergaard (12-7, 2.55), who has won three consecutive starts, opens a three-game weekend series against the Nationals at Citi Field on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Right-hander A.J. Cole (0-1, 4.97), who has never faced the Mets, starts for the Nats.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York and covered the Mets on Thursday.