Things looked good for the Marlins when Marcell Ozuna hit a first inning grand slam.
Over five hours later, the Marlins walked off the field in the wee hours of Friday morning with a frustrating 9-8 loss to the Mets in 16 innings.
Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud smacked a go-ahead solo homer to left off Adam Conley, who came in to pitch after the Marlins had exhausted all their bullpen options. The Marlins had a baserunner in the bottom of the 16th when Christian Yelich walked, but Ozuna flied out to deep center field to end the longest game in the history of Marlins Park.
The Marlins (4-5) lost their second game in a row in what by innings was tied for the fourth-longest game in franchise history, and lasted five hours and 38 minutes.
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“A lot went on tonight and if we’re able to close it out we don’t play all these extra innings,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Both teams hung in, but as you know it’s hard to score [late] when you get into those types of games.”
Conley was scheduled to pitch Friday’s game against the Mets, but after being used in Thursday’s game, the Marlins will use a different starter. Edinson Volquez, who’s next in line in the rotation, is on regular rest and will face off against Mets ace Noah Syndergaard Friday night.
After having used all available relievers, the Marlins will also call up a pitcher from the minors. In order to make room on the roster, they optioned Nick Wittgren, who threw three innings Thursday night, to Triple A New Orleans. Wittgren was the only reliever with minor league options.
“Nick’s kind of a casualty of this type of a game like this,” Mattingly said. “We’re just in a bind because you have to have guys to throw innings.”
Only A.J. Ramos did not pitch out of the bullpen, but after appearing in the previous two games and having warmed up before the ninth in case he would come in for a save situation, Mattingly said he was unavailable at that point.
D’Arnaud, who had four hits in the game, sent the second pitch he saw from Conley over the left field wall.
“There’s not much to say,” Conley said. “It was 16 innings of really good baseball up to that point and I just didn’t do my job. I was prepared to pitch today and [Mattingly] was good about it getting me prepared to face these guys.”
The Marlins found themselves playing past midnight after their bullpen gave up a lead in the seventh inning or later for the third time in nine games so far this season.
Leading 8-7 in the eighth, David Phelps surrendered a two-out double to pinch hitter Michael Conforto.
This came one inning after a great defensive play kept the Mets from tying the game.
Yoenis Cespedes appeared to have evaded the tag by A.J. Ellis to score on a Jay Bruce single off Kyle Barraclough despite a strong throw from Ozuna in left field. The call was overturned after a Marlins replay challenge, however.
Cespedes hit two home runs earlier in the game to help the Mets erase the Marlins’ 4-0 lead generated by Ozuna’s grand slam, and became the latest player to record a multi-home run game this week at Marlins Park.
In three games the Marlins have played at home so far this season, 13 combined home runs have been hit and four players – Cespedes, Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton and the Braves’ Ender Inciarte have each had two-homer games.
The Mets answered Ozuna’s grand slam with four runs in the second off starter Wei-Yin Chen and took a 6-4 lead when Chen gave up back-to-back solo home runs to Cespedes and Wilmer Flores in the third.
Chen gave up seven hits overall and exited the game after three innings – a stark contrast to his first outing against the Mets in New York last Friday when he pitched six innings and gave up one run.
The Marlins answered with four of their own in the bottom of the fifth as they batted around in the inning.
Mets starter Robert Gsellman had retired 10 consecutive batters after giving up the Ozuna’s blast. That ended when Miguel Rojas led off the fifth with a single. Gsellman exited the game after loading the bases, forcing a run in on a walk to Christian Yelich and giving up another run on a sacrifice fly by Stanton.
With the Mets ahead 7-6 and runners on first and second with two outs, manager Terry Collins went with lefty Josh Edgin to face Justin Bour, a career .222 hitter against lefties entering the game.
Bour defied the averages, however, hitting a game-tying double on a sharp line drive to the left field wall. Derek Dietrich followed that with a go-ahead single that scored Yelich to give the Marlins an 8-7 lead.