The last time the Marlins managed to pull off a three-game sweep over the Mets in New York was September 2009. The Marlins have gone through five managers since then.
No. 6 in the chain — Don Mattingly — didn’t end the drought on his first attempt. With a chance to sweep the Mets, the Marlins instead came up a 2-1 loser on Wednesday to close out their road trip.
After an off day Thursday, the Marlins will kick off a weekend series at home Friday against the last-place Braves. The Marlins went 3-2 on the road trip to Washington and New York.
“You want to win series after series,” Mattingly said of taking two out of three at Citi Field against the defending National League champions. “But once you win the first two, it’s not what you’re really looking for at that point. You’re looking basically to throttle somebody. We had a chance. We just didn’t get it done.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Outside of one difficult inning, Marlins starter Adam Conley was sharp. Conley went six innings and struck out a career-high nine batters. He worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth, retiring Wilmer Flores on a foul pop and striking out Asdrubal Cabrera to come out clean.
“Hopefully, this is what we’re going to see,” Mattingly said of Conley.
Conley was pleased with his performance on the mound.
“On the pitching side [Wednesday], I kept us in it and hung up zeros with the other guy,” Conley said.
But Conley couldn’t help himself at the plate when he had the chance, failing to drop down two sacrifice-bunt attempts that would have put runners in scoring position. Both times he struck out.
“For me, that’s what [Wednesday] was really about,” Conley said. “Twice [Wednesday] I was asked to give myself up and [move] a guy over there, and I wasn’t able to get it done. That’s a big deal. Happy with the results on the mound. But really, just not good enough at the plate.”
Mattingly said the missed sacrifice bunts loomed large in the outcome.
“I think those are areas we’ve got to be able to execute, because if you get two bunts down, you give yourself two chances to score,” Mattingly said.
Jacob deGrom was originally scheduled to start Wednesday for the Mets. But the Mets turned to Logan Verrett when deGrom’s turn was skipped because of a lat injury. The change in pitching plans didn’t work in the Marlins’ favor. Verrett gave the Mets six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits.
The Marlins wasted a golden scoring chance in the seventh when they loaded the bases off Mets reliever Jim Henderson with no outs. But Mets manager Terry Collins brought in Hansel Robles to strike out Miguel Rojas and pinch-hitter Derek Dietrich, and lefty Jerry Blevins to take care of Dee Gordon on a fly ball.
“Obviously, the seventh there is an inning that kind of flips the game,” Mattingly said. “We have a chance to put one or more on the board with contact, and we just weren’t able to do it there.”
When it came time for the Mets to bat, they grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the seventh on Kevin Plawecki’s two-out, two-run single off Dustin McGowan.
“They were able to get the big hit,” Mattingly said. “We didn’t.”
The Marlins responded with a run in the eighth on Justin Bour’s single.
But Mets closer Jeurys Familia, pitching for the third consecutive day, recorded the final five outs to earn the save.
▪ Ichiro Suzuki received his first start of the season Wednesday and doubled in four at-bats. That moved him within 63 hits of 3,000 in the major leagues.