NEW YORK -- Limited to just one run through the first 14 innings of the series, the Mets woke up in a big way with a seven-run sixth on Saturday night. Wilmer Flores and Kevin Plawecki each belted two-run homers in the outburst, as the Mets defeated the Marlins, 8-1,
NEW YORK -- Limited to just one run through the first 14 innings of the series, the Mets woke up in a big way with a seven-run sixth on Saturday night. Wilmer Flores and Kevin Plawecki each belted two-run homers in the outburst, as the Mets defeated the Marlins, 8-1, at Citi Field.
New York snapped a five-game skid, in which the club scored just 15 runs and batted .204. Rafael Montero, who gave up one run in six innings, picked up his first home win since Sept. 10, 2014. The right-hander benefited by getting double-play ground balls in four straight frames.
"He's been throwing the ball really well as of late," Plawecki said of Montero. "Tonight, he was obviously great, just getting ahead of guys, using all of his pitches really well."
• Montero turning a corner by pounding the strike zone
The game was scoreless through five innings. Miami got on the board first in the sixth on Marcell Ozuna's two-out RBI single.
Miami right-hander Vance Worley got into trouble in the sixth, walking pinch-hitter Matt Reynolds and giving up a single to Brandon Nimmo. Asdrubal Cabrera's sacrifice fly evened the score, and the Marlins turned to Drew Steckenrider, who was tagged for five runs (two earned) in one-third of an inning.
"Obviously, it didn't go the way we wanted it to," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Vance was throwing the ball well, all the way through that game. Actually, we had some action early, and we cleared the bases with a few double plays in the first five [innings]. After that first inning, he was like at 25 pitches. ... He made some pitches. We rolled it over, and he made some pitches."
Miami shortstop Miguel Rojas, who was shielded by Yoenis Cespedes on Michael Conforto's grounder that plated two in the seven-run sixth inning, was upset at himself for not at least knocking the ball down.
"You have to take responsibility in what you do," Rojas said. "At that point, at least if I block that ball, keep it in the infield and get one out. It's probably one run, instead of seven. After that, we're still in the game."
Dominic Smith connected on a home run in the eighth to cap the scoring, the second of his career and his first at Citi Field.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Conforto finds daylight: After the Marlins broke through for a run in the sixth, the Mets responded in a big way in the bottom of the inning. The go-ahead moment came on Conforto's grounder past a drawn-in infield. With Cespedes on second and Nimmo on third, Conforto ripped a grounder up the middle. Cespedes provided just enough of a shield leading off second that shortstop Rojas didn't get a clean look as the ball skipped into center field. The nightmarish inning for the Marlins featured three errors and a wild pitch.
Rojas, playing halfway for Conforto, said Cespedes asked him if he wanted him to run in front or behind him. Rojas didn't respond, and when the ball was hit, Cespedes went in front, causing a diversion.
"I wasn't playing back or in. I was playing in-between right there," Rojas said. "With one out, power hitter, wasn't playing all the way in. I was in-between. It's a tough situation right there. It's happened before. I feel that's not the reason I missed the ground ball."
Let's turn two: Five times the Marlins had a runner on first base with less than two outs, and five times they bounced into double plays. Montero mastered the trick, inducing double-play grounders in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. Twice, he got Tyler Moore to bounce into them. In the seventh it was Hansel Robles who got Moore to tap into his third DP of the night.
"I think my sinker was working really well for me tonight," Montero said. "I was able to get a lot of double plays out of it."
"Command. Being able to put the ball on both sides of the plate with all my pitches. That makes for a good, competitive outing. When you start to not have all your pitches, and you can only throw them to one side, we're in the big leagues for a reason. Those guys can hit on the other side. If you don't have one side of the plate, they're going to sit that side you can throw to." -- Worley, on his success of late. In his last four starts, he has a 2.42 ERA.
"If you're gonna win baseball games in the Major Leagues and the other team gives you chances, 30 outs, you better take advantage of it." -- Manager Terry Collins, on the Mets capitalizing on the Marlins' errors
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
For just the fifth time in team history, the Mets turned five double plays in one game. It marked only the third time it happened in a nine-inning game. For the Marlins, it was the fifth time in team history they've grounded into five double plays, the last coming on Aug. 28, 2016.
Marlins: Miami will close out its three-game set at Citi Field on Sunday with Adam Conley (5-5, 5.32 ERA) getting the start at 1:10 p.m. ET. The lefty is 2-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 36 1/3 career innings against the Mets.
Mets:Jacob deGrom will get his turn on Sunday for the new-look Mets in the series finale against the Marlins, as he tries to improve upon his 9-3 record over his last 12 outings.
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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.
Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York and covered the Mets on Saturday.