When your ace decides to have an off-night, you're forced to find another way to win. That was the case for the Fish as they kicked off a series with the Mets at Citi Field Tuesday night. Well, except for that "find another way to win" thing.
JJ wasn't at his sharpest. He cruised through the first inning, but the struggles began in the second. David Wright hit a lead-off triple, and Josh walked Ike Davis to put runners at the corners. Then Jeff Francoeur gave the Mets the lead when he hit a sac fly to right, allowing Wright to score.
The Marlins answered right back against R.A. Dickey in the top of the next inning. Hanley Ramirez led off with a single and stole second. Logan Morrison singled to send him to third, and Hanley scored and LoMo moved to third on a sac fly by Gaby Sanchez. Dan Uggla followed with a sac fly that plated Logan and put the Fish in the lead.
But once again, the Mets got to JJ in the bottom of the inning. With two out, Angel Pagan singled and stole second, and Carlos Beltran walked. Next, David Wright smashed the ball down the third base line. Wes Helms got a glove on it, but couldn't field it and the ball ended up in left for an error on Wes, and a tie ball game.
In the bottom of the fifth, JJ became the victim of some more bad defense. This time it was Cameron Maybin who misplayed Pagan's single, allowing him to advance to third. Carlos Beltran singled him home to put the Mets back in the lead, and then Carlos moved to third on another single by David Wright. Once again, all the Mets needed was a sac fly, and Francoeur delivered to put NY in the lead, 4-2.
That was the end of the line for JJ, who worked out of the inning, but used 102 pitches just to get through five, allowing three earned runs on six hits, walking four.
The Marlins would regain the lead again in the top of the seventh. Brett Hayes and Emilio Bonifacio singled to open the inning, and Gaby Sanchez hit a two-out, three-run shot to put the Marlins back on top.
After JJ ran out of gas, Brian Sanches and Burke Badenhop each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. In the eighth, it was Clay Henlsey's turn on the mound. Unfortunately, he couldn't make the "scoreless" thing happen. He recorded two outs before Pagan doubled, and then David Wright drove in the tying run with a single.
Hanley Ramirez doubled with two out in the top of the ninth, but the Fish left him stranded and went to the bottom of the inning with the game still tied.
It didn't stay tied for long.