MIAMI -- In his first Major League start, Jarlin Garcia had no-hit-caliber stuff, but the 25-year-old left-hander didn't have enough pitches left in the tank to go the distance. So after six no-hit innings, the Marlins went to their bullpen, and the Mets made them pay.Adrian Gonzalez's pinch-hit, two-run single
MIAMI -- In his first Major League start, Jarlin Garcia had no-hit-caliber stuff, but the 25-year-old left-hander didn't have enough pitches left in the tank to go the distance. So after six no-hit innings, the Marlins went to their bullpen, and the Mets made them pay.
Adrian Gonzalez's pinch-hit, two-run single off Chris O'Grady highlighted a four-run eighth inning that lifted the Mets to a 4-1 victory and a three-game sweep of the Marlins on Wednesday at Marlins Park.
Until the late heroics by the Mets, winners of eight straight, the story of the night was Garcia, who was making quick work of things through six innings.
"I felt like I could have kept going, but that's not my decision," Garcia said. "That's up to the manager. It's my first start out there, I understand what they're doing. I'm pitching under their guidance."
For manager Don Mattingly, lifting Garcia after a career-high 77 pitches was an easy call, even if it may not have been popular.
"That doesn't bother me at all, because I know he's not going nine," Mattingly said. "He has to go to 125-130 [pitches] to get to nine. So, it's fairly easy."
Garcia entered the game with 70 career relief appearances before sliding into the rotation. The plan has been to build him up.
"They came up to me and said, 'It's my first start out there, and the plan is to have me keep going out and stretch me out over time,'" Garcia said through an interpreter.
The Marlins held a one-run lead on Miguel Rojas' first-inning homer off Zack Wheeler, who permitted two hits over seven frames.
New York's first hit came on a one-out single in the seventh inning by Todd Frazier against Drew Steckenrider.
"It was just a 1-0 game," Frazier said. "Nobody was hitting. We understood what was going on, but it just honestly felt like we were down 1-0. That's the way we've been playing. We've just got to keep going."
The Mets' best chance versus Garcia came in the sixth inning when Juan Lagares led off with a sharp liner to right field. But Cameron Maybin raced in and made the catch. Per Statcast™, the exit velocity of Lagares' drive was 104 mph, and the ball had a 91-percent hit probability.
"While I was out there, I was trying to control my emotions and go inning by inning, pitch by pitch," Garcia said. "I was concentrating on making my pitches and making sure I'm getting through innings as quickly as I can."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Six is enough: The Marlins looked at the big picture over the chance to make history. Garcia had never gone more than six innings in any of his previous Major League outings, so the left-hander didn't come out for the seventh. Garcia, who is transitioning from the bullpen to the rotation, is also on a limit of around 120 innings this season.
"I haven't thrown a no-hitter before," Garcia said, "but I have gone six or seven innings without giving up a hit, like I did tonight."
Wrestling with the decision: The lefty-on-lefty matchup worked in the Mets' favor in the eighth inning. Even with the Marlins going with O'Grady, the Mets stayed with Michael Conforto and Gonzalez as back-to-back pinch-hitters. Both delivered momentum-changing hits. Conforto's double to right put a pair of runners in scoring position for Gonzalez to slap a two-run single, and the Mets were on their way to their sixth comeback victory on the year.
"He really couldn't have done too much better, I thought," O'Grady said of Garcia. "He did exactly what you needed him to do. He battled. Unfortunately, I let him down a little bit, and let down the team. So, I have to go out and get them the next time."
Mattingly admitted he "wrestled" with sticking with hard-throwing Tayron Guerrero or turning to O'Grady.
"Matchup-wise probably tells me to go left-handed there," Mattingly said. "But stuff-wise, with Tayron, I like the way he's throwing the ball, and that power. I haven't seen too many guys catch up. That's the one I wrestle with."
"I just want them to enjoy this, because it's a great opportunity that they have. This is their team. This is the young guys' team, and they have the opportunity to make a name for themselves." -- Rojas, on the youthful Marlins staying upbeat during a rough stretch
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Second baseman Starlin Castro had his 16-game hitting streak at Marlins Park snapped after going 0-for-4. The only other player to hit safely in 16 straight games at the venue is Christian Yelich, who did it in 2014.
After an off-day, the Marlins open a three-game series with the Pirates at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday at Marlins Park. Lefty Dillon Peters (1-1, 9.35) gets the start for Miami. Right-hander Chad Kuhl (1-0, 5.06) goes for Pittsburgh. Castro has a career slash line of .310/.353/.473 against the Pirates.
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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.