NEW YORK -- If Sunday's finale is any indication, Sandy Alcantara should be primed to open 2019 in the Marlins' rotation. The rookie aggressively pounded the zone with his four-seam fastball, running it up as high as 98.3 mph.Alcantara recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts. But the lone run he allowed
NEW YORK -- If Sunday's finale is any indication, Sandy Alcantara should be primed to open 2019 in the Marlins' rotation. The rookie aggressively pounded the zone with his four-seam fastball, running it up as high as 98.3 mph.
Alcantara recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts. But the lone run he allowed turned out to be the difference, as Todd Frazier's RBI double in the fourth inning lifted the Mets to a 1-0 victory at Citi Field.
Noah Syndergaard went the distance for the Mets, who held Miami without a run over the final 24 innings of the series.
For Miami, it was an encouraging sign to see Alcantara match up favorably with an established veteran.
"Just going out there and being able to pitch this one," Alcantara said through an interpreter. "Now, I've got to carry that over to this winter and continue doing my work to go out there and be the best pitcher I can be."
After the Marlins took the opener, 8-1 on Friday, they dropped back-to-back 1-0 games. On Saturday night, New York prevailed in 13 innings.
The Marlins close out their season at 63-98, ending up with 161 games, because a rainout at Pittsburgh on Sept. 9 will not be made up on Monday because it doesn't affect the playoff standings.
As a change of pace, manager Don Mattingly allowed All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to player-manage the final game.
"It was a fairly easy game to manage because Sandy did a great job, obviously," Realmuto said. "So there weren't many moves on our part. And, obviously, Syndergaard threw a great game."
Realmuto let Alcantara get through seven innings, which matches his personal best.
"We had talked about it, it's his game," Realmuto said. "It's his last start of the year. He hadn't had too many innings on his arm, so we felt like we'd send him out there."
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 2 prospect, Alcantara scattered four hits and walked two. He relied heavily on his four-seam fastball, which he threw 56 times and got 11 swinging strikes.
"We noticed there were some tendencies from myself to not pitch effectively with my two-seam," Alcantara said of his sinker. "We started concentrating on the four-seam. That's what we did in the bullpen and these couple of days leading up to this start. We put it to good use."
In his previous two starts, Alcantara threw more two-seamers, or sinkers, and he walked 11 in eight innings.
So the decision was made to use his four-seam -- which doesn't have such drastic movement -- more.
"His last couple of starts, he had trouble with control," Realmuto said. "His two-seam has been running off the plate a little bit. Today, he used his four-seam a lot. You could tell. He was all over the strike zone, attacking the hitters with three pitches. He just did a great job."
Alcantara held New York without a hit until Jeff McNeil singled to lead off the fourth inning. With two outs in the frame, Frazier lined an RBI double that went just over the head of Isaac Galloway in left field.
Alcantara was at 91 pitches through six innings, and made quick work in the seventh. Getting a fly out to left and back-to-back strikeouts before his season was done.
Acquired from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade, Alcantara finished with a 3.44 ERA.
"I wanted us to have a chance to get a run in the seventh and give Sandy a chance to have a win," Realmuto said. "But that didn't happen. He did a great job of finishing and getting through seven for us. That was huge."
• Mattingly says 2018 was an evaluation year
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In the eighth inning, Magneuris Sierra doubled down the third-base line with two outs. It came after Rafael Ortega, who pinch-hit, narrowly missed an extra-base hit. Ortega's liner down the first-base line was ruled foul. The Marlins challenged, but after the review, the call stood. With Sierra on second, representing the tying run, JT Riddle struck out.
"Last two days were kind of indicative," Mattingly said of the lack of offense. "We went 22 innings, give up two runs and don't win either game."
Alcantara's previous strikeout high was six, done twice -- Sept. 5 against the Phillies, and Sept. 13 at the Mets.
MATTINGLY MEETS WITH WRIGHT
Before Sunday's finale, Mattingly met privately with retiring Mets third baseman David Wright. On behalf of the Marlins, Mattingly presented Wright with a framed photo of Wright's walk-off hit in the 2009 World Baseball Classic at Dolphins Stadium in Miami.
HE SAID IT
"It's looking like it, but we're waiting to talk to the Marlins to see their decision." -- Alcantara, on his desire to pitch Winter Ball
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.