Hero of the Game: Justin Ruggiano (0.466 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Placido Polanco (-0.456 WPA)
Play of the Game: Rob Brantly singled in the 15th inning. Greg Dobbs scored. Justin Ruggiano advanced to third base (+0.498 WPA).
The Miami Marlins and New York Mets were not expecting to have a 15-inning affair to start off their fresh three-game series. And yet in a duel between young phenom starters Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey, the ultimate fate of the game came down to the team's offensive players and the quickly-depleted bullpen. The Marlins and Mets ran through almost all of their bullpen arms on both sides, but it took some late-inning heroics by the middle of the Marlins' lineup, after the team lost Giancarlo Stanton to injury, to pull out the win.
Giancarlo Stanton's injury was covered on the site, but it bears repeating: he suffered a right hamstring injury while running out a ground ball in the tenth inning. No additional word has been released about his condition.
The two starting pitchers differed drastically in their results. The 24-year-old Harvey dominated with seven strikeouts through 5 1/3 innings, but he also gave up seven hits and was taken to his absolute limit despite the low innings count. Harvey threw 121 pitches in his meager 5 1/3 innings, but he was not the only starter who struggled with pitch counts. Fernandez had a third straight poor outing, striking out four but walking three in four innings and allowing his second homer of the year, a moon shot by former Marlin John Buck that landed on the Monstrosity in center field.
Both teams made a series of crucial errors during the game. Mike Redmond allowed Jose Fernandez to hit with a runner in scoring position and two outs before pulling him the very next inning. Terry Collins fired back in extra innings by intentionally walking Donovan Solano despite having two strikes on him to force the Marlins to burn their final pinch-hitter. Neither move hurt the respective teams too much, but they showed a lack of critical thinking by both managers.
Both starting pitchers left relatively early, and it was down to the bullpens to deliver. The Marlins' pen did their job just a tad better tonight. The efforts of Tom Koehler, A.J. Ramos, Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb, Chad Qualls, and Jon Rauch totaled 12 strikeouts versus just three walks in 11 innings. The team allowed only one run during that time, the run allowed by Rauch in the top of the 15th inning to give the Mets a temporary 3-2 lead.
In the 15th, the Marlins fought back, with Greg Dobbs getting aboard with a single with one out. Justin Ruggiano, who had three hits including one double and two walks in the game, got his second walk to put the tying run in scoring position. Rob Brantly, who had previously hit into two of the Marlins' five rally-killing double plays, avoided it with a single to drive home Dobbs and move Ruggiano to third base. Shortstop Nick Green followed with the sacrifice fly and the Marlins got a chance to walk off with the victory.
The Marlins have won two straight for the first time in 2013.