AJ Ramos was back at Marlins Park pitching in a save situation.
But for the first time in his career, he was trying to secure a Marlins’ loss.
His former teammates refused to let it happen.
Ramos suffered his first blown save as the Mets closer Tuesday night when the Marlins scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth.
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The Marlins then completed the rally in the 10th inning when J.T. Realmuto belted a walk-off solo home run to left to secure a 5-4 win over the Mets.
“It was weird,” Realmuto said. “When I stepped up in the box I looked at [Mets catcher Travis] d’Arnaud and I said ‘Man, this is awkward.’ I’ve caught this guy a ton of innings but I’ve never stepped in the box against him. I knew exactly what he was about to do too, but it looks way different when you’re in the box facing him.”
Ramos, who was traded by the Marlins to the Mets on July 28, was trying to seal what would have been his 100th career save in his first-ever outing against his former team.
Justin Bour led off the ninth with a 402-foot solo homer to right center field. A.J. Ellis and Ichiro Suzuki would deliver a pair of two-out singles to drive in two more and tie the game.
Ramos had two strikeouts, but allowed five hits overall.
“[Familiarity] gives you a little bit of understanding of what you want to do with him,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Most guys haven’t seen him, so it’s not like they’ve been up there and faced AJ, but you do have an idea of what kind pitcher he is. You know basically his breaking ball is his pitch. So you do have some idea of what you’re facing up there.”
When asked after the game, Ramos didn’t think he was too overhyped facing his former team.
“Maybe a little but my stuff hasn’t been as crisp as normal,” Ramos said. “Maybe I was a little too amped up today but they laid off some good pitches. They put the ball in play. There is no excuse. I made the pitches for the most part where I wanted to, except to Giancarlo. I was [mad] about that.
“They just beat me, plain and simple.”
Ramos issued a walk to his close friend Giancarlo Stanton to load the bases in the ninth after the Marlins tied the game. Paul Sewald relieved Ramos and struck out Christian Yelich to send the game to extras. But Realmuto ended it when he drove a fastball from Sewald over the left field fence.
“I was actually really looking to pull something the other way and hit something to right field and get on base,” Realmuto said. “He just left a pitch over the plate and I was able to put a good swing on it.”
▪ Realmuto’s walk-off homer was the first of his career and second walk-off hit.
▪ Ichiro’s equalizer in the ninth sailed just above the outstretched glove of shortstop Jose Reyes, who made a leaping attempt to grab it. It was Ichiro’s 3,079th career hit leaving him two behind Cap Anson for 21st all-time according to Elias. He had been 0-for-4 in the game to that point.
“What makes Ichiro great is what makes guys like Hawk [Andre Dawson] and Tony Perez and the guys that are in the Hall of Fame great,” Mattingly said. “They have good at-bats all the time and the situation doesn’t get big because the at-bat is always the same.”
▪ Stanton walked four times Tuesday and remained at 55 home runs.