After the Marlins (5-5) lost a 16 inning marathon on Thursday night to the Mets (7-4), Marlins Manager Don Mattingly had to be praying for his team to avoid extra baseball. He got to breathe a sigh of relief, as the Marlins persevered with a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Going into the bottom of the 9th, the Marlins and Mets had been trading zeros for four consecutive innings. The Mets bullpen, which was overworked from the night before, did not have many fresh options to go to. They handed the ball to Josh Edgin (0-1), a left-handed pitcher who has not had much success in the young 2017 season. After working around two baserunners in the 8th inning, he gave up the deciding run in the 9th.
Miguel Rojas led off the 9th inning with a seven-pitch walk. After Edgin retired J.T. Riddle and Dee Gordon, the reigning NL Player of the Week stepped to the plate. J.T. Realmuto, who had entered the plate appearance in a 2-for-15 slump, ended any thoughts of extra innings on one swing. He smashed a double that one-hopped the wall in right-center, scoring a hustling Rojas from first base and giving the Marlins their fifth win of the season.
The Marlins took advantage of a Mets fielding mistake to get on the board first. Dee Gordon led off the bottom of the 1st with a seven-pitch walk and worked his way over to third when Asdrubal Cabrera threw the ball into right field. Christian Yelich would fly out to center to bring home the game’s first run.
Edinson Volquez started the game for the Marlins and clearly did not have his best command. The trouble started for the Marlins right-hander in the second inning, when he walked back-to-back hitters with two-outs. He got himself out of the jam, but lost the plate in the process. The command woes followed him into the third inning, when he walked Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda sandwiched between a Jay Bruce single. Michael Conforto would then tie the game for the Mets on a sac-fly to centerfield. Volquez was visibly angry at the strike zone but was likely also mad at himself.
His night came to a close in the 5th inning, after giving up a towering home run to Duda that landed in the centerfield shrubbery and a sharp single to Conforto. Volquez went 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K (91 Pitches, 53 Strikes). Not a good outing, but it could have been much worse. Dustin McGowan got the final out of the frame on a single pitch.
The Marlins didn’t waste any time tying this game up against Noah Syndergaard. Three straight singles from Rojas, pinch-hitter Tyler Moore, and Gordon knotted the score up at two in the bottom of the 5th. That hit for Moore was his third pinch-hit knock of the season; he has proven to be a valuable weapon off the bench in the early going.
The score remained tied at two until the 9th inning, in most part thanks to Conforto. The Marlins loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th inning with Yelich coming to the plate. Yelich scorched a ball into left field, but right at Conforto. He then launched an absolute strike to home plate to nail Rojas. It was an incredible throw. All you can do is tip your cap.
Here's that Michael Conforto laser beam home to preserve a tie game between the Mets and Marlins. My goodness. pic.twitter.com/SzP0tgBM42— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 15, 2017
The Marlins finally got a great evening out of their bullpen and at just the right time. McGowan, Jarlin Garcia, Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and A.J. Ramos (1-1) combined for 4.1 scoreless innings. Garcia was making his major league debut, after they demoted Nick Wittgren early Friday to bring in a fresh arm.
The Marlins tallied 10 hits in the win. Rojas had a career game, going 3-for-3 with 2 runs and a walk. Gordon raised his batting average to .326 with a 3-for-5 day at the plate. Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour, and Moore all collected a single. Realmuto’s double was his only hit of the game, but the only one that mattered.
It would be unfair to ignore a beautiful diving play made by Dee Gordon in the top of the 2nd. He dove to his left and flipped the ball to Rojas from his backside.
The Marlins and Mets will be back at it tomorrow evening at 7:10 PM. It will be the dangerous Jacob deGrom taking on Adam Conley. The Marlins left-hander had his start pushed back a day, after the Marlins needed him Thursday night in extra innings.