The Marlins endured their share of tough-to-stomach, one-run losses over the first half of the season — the kind that led to head scratching and plenty of what-ifs.
Sunday didn’t qualify as one of those days.
David Wright scored twice and had two RBI as the New York Mets sent the Marlins staggering into the All-Star break with a 9-1, series-sweeping victory in front of 28,187 fans at Citi Field.
The three-game sweep was a miserable end to a nine-game road trip for the Marlins, who after winning their first series in St. Louis since 2009 dropped five of their last six on the tour to slip to a season-worst six games under .500.
In the process, the Mets (45-50) also leapfrogged the Marlins (44-50) in the National League East standings, dropping Miami to fourth place for the first time since May 4. Since being tied for first place on June 8 at 33-30, the Marlins have gone 11-20, the fourth-worst record in baseball.
“We were sloppy. Once again our bats were quiet. Just not a good series at all,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
“I know we’ve got some guys pressing. We’ve got some guys on tilt. We’ve got some guys frustrated. Obviously, when you lose games, that’s what happens. We need to relax a little bit for a few days, come back, get to work next week.”
Slugger Giancarlo Stanton, set to compete in Monday night’s Home Run Derby and play alongside teammate Henderson Alvarez in Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, had a forgettable road trip himself.
He walked twice Sunday, but finished 4 for 33 (.121) with only two RBI on the trip. He hasn’t homered since June 26 in Philadelphia, a span of 58 at-bats.
Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who earned his first big-league win with seven shutout innings in Miami on June 21, picked up his third victory in his rookie campaign with another seven sterling innings against the Marlins.
Brad Hand started for the Marlins and exited after four innings with a bruised right shin. Hand, listed as day-to-day by the Marlins, fell to 1-12 in 19 career starts after surrendering six hits, two walks and three earned runs on 72 pitches.
With one on and one out in the fourth, Anthony Recker’s hot comebacker to the mound struck Hand just above his right ankle as he tried to leap out of harm’s way.
“It felt fine the rest of that inning, but when I came back in and sat down a little bit, it didn’t feel very good after that,” Hand said
Hand recovered the ball on the play and threw to first base to get Recker for the out. But the Mets took the lead shortly after.
After Redmond called for an intentional walk to No. 8 hitter Ruben Tejada to get the pitcher to the plate, deGrom picked up his first major-league RBI with a single to center. Curtis Granderson then doubled down the right-field line to extend the lead to 3-1 and the Mets were on their way.
That was all more than enough for deGrom.
The only run he allowed came on Marcell Ozuna’s infield single with two outs in the fourth inning and happened only because the Marlins caught a huge break moments earlier when right fielder Granderson and second baseman Eric Campbell lost a routine fly ball in the sun.
The ball, hit sky-high by Garrett Jones, fell harmlessly between the Mets fielders and kept the inning alive for the Marlins. Aside from that, the Marlins hardly caused any trouble for the 26-year-old.
Ed Lucas struck out three times Sunday, including when he ended the fourth by whiffing with runners on the corners. In the sixth, Adeiny Hechavarria singled and Stanton drew a walk to open the frame. But deGrom killed the rally when he got Casey McGehee to hit into a 4-6-3 double play before striking out Jones.
The Marlins open the second half of the season Friday at home against the Giants. San Francisco is one of the three teams whose record over the past month is worse than the Marlins.
“Right now, we all need to get away,” said reliever Kevin Gregg, who gave up three of the four runs the Mets scored in the eighth without getting an out.
“The four days will be useful and help us reset. We kind of fell on our faces a little bit going into the second half. Hopefully, we can pick things up, get these four days off, and be on our way.”