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Mets put pieces in place, can't complete comeback

NEW YORK -- Even in the last days of a month that's seen his club's offense slow, then sputter, then stall, Terry Collins thought the Mets had a chance in Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Marlins.

With Daniel Murphy standing on second base, a one-run deficit and two outs to play with, the manager was confident.

The Mets had put in place the foundations of a last-inning comeback, but they couldn't break through. And on a night when Matt Harvey didn't pitch like he usually does, they needed some offense.

Twice that offense had come in the form of solo home runs, but Collins saw the potential for more in the ninth inning. With the middle of his lineup due up, he saw a rally.

Ruben Tejada jumpstarted one with a leadoff single in the ninth, then almost nixed it. When a wild pitch from Marlins right-hander A.J. Ramos skirted past the reach of catcher J.T. Realmuto, Tejada took off for second base.

Video: MIA@NYM: Tejada uses tricky slide to steal second

Realmuto collected the ball and made an on-target throw to second base, but Tejada was deemed to have beaten it by a hair. Video replay showed he slid his hand under the tag.

After Lucas Duda struck out swinging, Murphy cut the deficit to one run with a double that scored Tejada. That brought up Michael Cuddyer -- he of the recent surge and spiking batting average -- and Wilmer Flores, Tuesday's walk-off hero.

"I thought, with the next two guys coming up, they seem to get big hits," Collins said. "With Murph standing at second, I thought one of the next two guys for sure was going to get a base hit."

But they didn't.

Cuddyer struck out swinging. Flores dribbled the second pitch he saw to first base.

"I didn't know about how we were going to win it, but I thought we'd tie it right there," Collins said. "We didn't."

Alden Woods is an associate reporter for
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