Tim McClelland is widely regarded — by players and managers — as one of the best umpires in the majors. But he might have missed a crucial call Tuesday that enabled the Marlins to pull out a 2-1 win over the New York Mets.
“Maybe we caught a little break there at third, but it’s good to see a play go our way,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said of a disputed call at third base in the ninth inning.
McClelland signaled Chris Coghlan safe at third when he advanced from second on Juan Pierre’s bunt. Mets third baseman David Wright disagreed. Video replays seemed to confirm his beef that Coghlan had come off the bag while the tag was still being applied.
One batter later, Coghlan scored the tying run. And shortly after that, the Marlins won the game on a bases-loaded wild pitch by Mets reliever Brandon Lyon.
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“I’ve got no comment, guys,” Coghlan said. “I beat the throw. That’s all that matters.”
Said Redmond: “It looked close, and when I saw those hands go safe, I was excited. I knew we were in business.”
The Marlins, down 1-0 entering the ninth, rallied for two runs to secure their first three-game winning streak of the season.
“It’s fun to win,” said hard-luck Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey, who remained winless despite delivering eight outstanding innings in which he allowed one run on four hits.
Slowey, who hasn’t earned a big-league win since 2010, has the worst run support of any starter in the majors and received no help offensively Tuesday. With Giancarlo Stanton going on the disabled list and watching helplessly from the dugout, the Marlins had managed only three hits off Mets starter Jeremy Hefner until Coghlan delivered a pinch-hit single to lead off the ninth.
That brought up Pierre, whose sacrifice bunt was picked up near the plate by Mets catcher Anthony Recker, who made a quick throw to third. Coghlan appeared to beat the throw, but Wright’s left foot was blocking part of the bag and Coghlan’s hand and foot couldn’t maintain contact. At least that’s what the replays seemed to show.
After falling behind in the count 0-2, Solano managed to dump a single into right to score Coghlan with the tying run. Placido Polanco was walked intentionally to load the bases. But Lyon uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Pierre to race home with the winning run.
Ryan Webb, who pitched the ninth for the Marlins, received the win.
Slowey, who became the first starting pitcher for the Marlins this season to go eight innings, was left with yet another no-decision.
“That win for Slowey, it’s elusive,” Redmond said. “It’s crazy. Slowey’s done the same thing he’s done all season, and that’s pound the strike zone. This guy, he’s smart. He’s prepared. We need to get this guy a win. I mean, this is ridiculous. He’s done his part. It’s going to happen.”
Slowey struck out eight and didn’t issue any walks. And by lasting eight solid innings, he spared a bullpen that had been taxed the night before in the 15-inning marathon the Marlins ended up winning.
Marcell Ozuna, who made his major-league debut in right field, had one of the Marlins’ few hits off Hefner, a sharp single to left in the fifth inning. But no one was able to make it as far as second base until the ninth.
The walk-off win for the Marlins was their third this season. None, however, has come via a base hit. They’ve won in walk-off fashion on a fielding error, a sacrifice fly, and — on Tuesday — a wild pitch.
The Marlins have now won three of their five meetings so far this season against New York.