Hero Of The Game: John Buck (.423 WPA)
Goat Of The Game: Heath Bell (-422 WPA)
Play Of The Game: Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton hit a walk-off grand slam on the first pitch he saw from Mets reliever Manny Acosta. (0.348 WPA)
Despite another poor 9th inning performance by Heath Bell, the Marlins were able to come together and defeat the New York Mets 8-4 on Mother's Day.
The Marlins saw themselves down 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Frank Francisco, who blew the save on Friday night, once again couldn't find the strike zone. Emilio Bonifacio led off the inning with a triple, his second of the game, and John Buck walked and was pinch run for by Brett Hayes. Greg Dobbs then brought the Marlins one run closer with an RBI single to center field. Following an argument with the home plate umpire, Mets' manager Terry Collins brought Manny Acosta into the game.
Jose Reyes followed with a sacrifice fly that drove home Brett Hayes, who advanced to third on Dobbs' hit, and tied the game. Following Reyes' sac fly, Omar Infante popped out, but Hanley Ramirez walked and Austin Kearns was hit by a pitch, respectively. Giancarlo Stanton crushed a first pitch fastball just to the left of the home run sculpture, which ended the game and won the series for the Marlins.
"I was expecting a first pitch fastball," Stanton said. 'If [Acosta] threw me a breaking ball, I would have taken it."
The Fish saw themselves trailing for most of the afternoon. After a pair of singles and a past ball, the Mets put a couple of ground balls in play and took a 2-0 lead. Carlos Zambrano, who pitched well enough to deserve a victory, shut the Mets down through the rest of his seven innings.
Although the Marlins had several opportunities early, they received timely hits when they needed them most. Emilio Bonifacio led off the seventh inning with a triple, and catcher John Buck followed with a home run that tied the game at 2.
Acquiring Carlos Zambrano makes the front office look better each time he pitches. Zambrano on Sunday pitched seven innings, giving up only two runs while walking three and striking out seven. He lowered his ERA 1.88, and gave the Marlins yet another quality start.
Heath Bell, who looked good on Friday night, pitched the top of the 9th and received the win. Daniel Murphy hit a one out double, and Ronny Cedeno followed with a walk. Bell got Jordany Valdespin to ground out, and then intentionally walked pinch hitter Mike Baxter. Justin Turner, who has hit the Marlins well in his young career, hit a two out, two RBI double that gave the Mets a lead that didn't last long.
The Marlins have won 9 of 11 heading into a series with the Pirates that begins on Tuesday night. Sunday marked the 5th walk-off victory in just 14 games played at Marlins Park.