Marlins jump into 3rd NL Wild Card spot

Ninth-inning rally in Game 2 of doubleheader propels Miami forward in push for postseason

September 28th, 2023

NEW YORK -- So often over the years, chants of “Let’s go Mets!” have flooded the Marlins’ home ballpark when the National League East rivals met. South Florida, after all, is unofficially considered the Sixth Borough because of all the New York transplants. 

Marlins fans visiting Queens on Wednesday night returned the favor, and it seemed to rally the ballclub during its go-ahead ninth inning in Miami’s 4-2 win over New York in Game 2 of a doubleheader split at Citi Field.

  • Games remaining: at NYM (1), at PIT (3)
  • Standings update: The Marlins (82-76) moved ahead of the Cubs (82-76) for the third NL Wild Card spot, and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Reds (81-78). Miami holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Chicago, having taken four of six in the season series. Miami tied the season series (3-3) with Cincinnati, but the Marlins (26-25 against the NL East) hold the second tiebreaker -- intradivisional record -- over the Reds (20-29 against the NL Central).

Rookie Xavier Edwards and veteran Jon Berti hit back-to-back singles off righty Adam Ottavino to open the frame. After Berti stole second, the Mets intentionally walked Josh Bell to load the bases. Mets rookie third baseman Brett Baty then booted pinch-hitter Yuli Gurriel’s run-scoring grounder, and Bryan De La Cruz added an RBI single as insurance.

“It's just support,” De La Cruz said via interpreter Luis Dorante Jr. “That support that you can see from the fans is amazing, mostly here in New York that is not your home. So we have that support, which was pretty, pretty important. When we saw the scoreboard, we saw that Atlanta won the game against Chicago. It was an extra push.”

By the end of the doubleheader, the Marlins were without manager Skip Schumaker (ejection), Luis Arraez (left ankle sprain), Jorge Soler (right side discomfort), Jake Burger (ejection) and Bell (right knee) as they secured their first winning season since 2009.

Berti and Jesús Sánchez each went deep against rookie right-hander Kodai Senga, while veteran righty Johnny Cueto surrendered a pair of solo homers to Francisco Lindor over 4 1/3 innings. New York’s shortstop also lined a two-run shot against lefty Braxton Garrett in Miami’s lopsided Game 1 loss.

“Obviously, Game 1 didn't go the way we wanted – but this has been a resilient group all year,” said Berti, who has homered four times in his past five games. “So [that] didn't faze us one bit. Pitching staff -- Cueto, our bullpen -- did a phenomenal job for us in that second game to give us a chance to kind of get going there against a good pitcher like Senga, and then into their bullpen.”

Less than 24 hours after field conditions were deemed unplayable from the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia, forcing Wednesday’s twin bill, Garrett was unable to set the tone in Game 1. Schumaker pulled him after surrendering a pair of two-run homers in just four innings and 77 pitches. But the first-time skipper didn’t do so with the possibility of Garrett pitching on short rest on Sunday in mind, rather to keep the game within slam range. That didn’t end up being the case in an 11-2 loss.

Frustrations finally boiled over for the contending Marlins hours later in the nightcap. With the bases loaded and two outs in a 2-2 ballgame in the seventh inning, Burger received a quick ejection for his displeasure at a strike-three call that appeared to be out of the zone. Schumaker soon followed.

“Getting a split was huge, honestly,” said Schumaker, who watched the rest of the game from the lunch room inside the clubhouse. “Obviously, you want to win two games, but to come back and beat [the Mets in a game started by] Senga, who's one of the better pitchers in the league this year and having an outstanding season, for us to come back and win tonight, it's a big deal. Every win's a big deal right now, but to beat a pitcher like that tonight in a doubleheader was huge.”