The Marlins managed to avoid being no-hit on Monday. What they failed to avoid was another loss to the New York Mets.
For the second consecutive night, the Marlins allowed a comeback go to waste when the Mets came up with two runs off Steve Cishek in the 10th inning for a 4-2 victory.
Though they not only broke up rookie Zack Wheeler’s no-hit bid with a one-out single from Ed Lucas in the seventh and evened the score with two more hits that inning, the Marlins did little else after that and fell in extra innings.
They have now lost their past three extra-inning games.
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At least they didn’t sustain the franchise’s third no-hit loss.
“He really put it to us the first seven innings or so,” Lucas said of Wheeler, who made his major-league debut in June and was facing the Marlins for the first time. “Up until that point, he had us completely stonewalled.”
Wheeler retired the first 11 batters he faced and didn’t surrender a hit until Lucas singled sharply to right in the seventh. After Lucas wrecked Wheeler’s no-hit bid, the reenergized Marlins began to peck away at the pitcher.
Donovan Solano followed Lucas’ single with one of his own, which drove in the Marlins’ first run. Jake Marisnick joined suit with a RBI single of his own to tie the score at 2-2.
Wheeler not only lost his chance at becoming only the second pitcher in Mets history to toss a no-hitter, joining Johan Santana in that regard, but failed to receive a decision after pitching so magnificently.
The Mets could have put Wheeler in line for the win had they taken advantage of Marlon Byrd’s leadoff triple in the eighth off Chad Qualls. But Qualls worked his way out of the jam, striking out Ike Davis, receiving a dandy defensive play from third baseman Lucas on a backhanded grab to retire John Buck, and striking out Omar Quintanilla to close out the frame.
Qualls was so ecstatic with his escape job that after striking out Quintanilla, he pumped his right arm with such exuberance he lost his balance, tumbled to the ground, and rolled once. Qualls kept a straight face until he entered the dugout, at which point he broke out in laughter and covered his head and face in a white towel.
It was a brief moment of comic relief on a night in which, early on, the Marlins had little to smile about. Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi toiled through six innings in which he ran up his pitch count quickly.
Eovaldi walked Eric Young Jr. to start the game on an 11-pitch at bat, and ended up walking four more (one intentionally) in addition to giving up four hits. One of those hits — a Juan Lagares double in the fourth with two outs — drove in two runs for the Mets. Eovaldi needed 112 pitches to make it through six.
“They were working deep counts and I was falling behind a lot,” Eovaldi said. “It was a rough one [Tuesday night].”
Given how successfully Wheeler was performing on the mound, it appeared those two runs would be all the Mets would need. He allowed only two baserunners — both with two outs — through the first six innings and struck out Giancarlo Stanton to begin the seventh.
But after losing Logan Morrison to a walk, Wheeler lost his no-hit attempt on Lucas’ opposite-field single and, one batter, later, the shutout, as well.
The Mets still pulled out the win.
“It’s tough to do any damage with four hits,” manager Mike Redmond said. “Every single night it’s the same thing — a one-run game, a two-run game, pins-and-needles pitching. We play a lot of emotional games … and when you lose those games, they beat you down.”
Cishek worked a clean ninth inning. But when he returned for the 10th, he wasn’t as effective. The first three Mets batters reached to load the bases Buck, the former Marlin, drove in the deciding runs with a single up the middle.
“We were in a situation where we really … only had a couple of guys left [in the bullpen],” Redmond said of the decision to have Cishek go back out for another inning. “I felt like, hey, this is a guy we could get two innings out of and try to get him a run.”
The Marlins came up empty in the 10th against Bobby Parnell, who helped put Justin Ruggiano in the record books by retiring the pinch-hitter on a ground-ball out. It was the 33rd consecutive hitless at-bat for Ruggiano, which tied a 2007 record held by Mike Jacobs.
After winning five games in a row against the Mets, the Marlins have now lost the first two games of the series to their division rivals.