Gordon's persistence pays off in 16-pitch AB

April 13th, 2016

NEW YORK -- No one can say Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon didn't work for his leadoff single to open the eighth inning of Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Mets.

Gordon, who struck out his three previous at-bats against Noah Syndergaard, was determined to put the ball in play against reliever Jim Henderson, by any means possible. The two-time All-Star succeeded, capping a club record 16-pitch showdown with a soft single to left field. Twice previously, batters saw 15 pitches -- Gregg Zaun (1998) and Mike Lowell (2001).

Get this: The hit came after Gordon fouled off 11 straight pitches. Henderson threw fastballs 94 mph or higher, before Gordon dropped an 87 mph slider into left field.

"You know what's weird, I thought it was like seven pitches," Gordon said. "When I looked up, it was like 13. I was like, 'All right.' And kept battling."

Henderson kept bringing heat, and Gordon kept finding a way to flick the ball out of play.

"We could have played that game all night I think," Henderson said. "Everything worked out perfect for him. There were two balls that fell just foul out of [David Wright's] reach, and then it's not like we're playing very deep in left, either. It would have been nice to get that slider in just a touch more on his hands, but everything worked out for him with a perfectly placed ball into left field."

Gordon's long at-bat -- turned hit -- was big, because he stole second and scored the decisive run on Martin Prado's sacrifice fly to center.

"It was the difference in the whole game," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You've got to give him credit, but we had a pretty good night throwing high fastballs behind him. He just kept fouling them off until he got something off-speed on the plate. Tremendous at-bat."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly noted, no matter the end result, Gordon deserved praise for his resolve.

"He just battled," Mattingly said. "When you do that, and then end up with hit -- even if you don't -- it's a great at-bat. But when you end up with a hit, it's something that's really uplifting to the club."

Gordon did end up striking out a career-high four times, after he went down in the ninth inning against Jeurys Familia. But at the most crucial point, he came through and helped Miami manufacture the winning run.

"It's my job," Gordon said. "Take away what happened the whole beginning of the day. That was the most important at-bat for me at that time. I had to do my job."