The bullpen has been a major reason the Marlins are in playoff contention past the midway point of this season.
It failed them Monday in one of their most-frustrating defeats of the season.
The Mets scored six runs between the sixth and eighth innings to erase an early 6-0 deficit and hand the Marlins an 8-6 loss at Citi Field.
It was the largest lead surrendered by the Marlins in a loss this season, and the most hits (17) in defeat.
“This was the bullpen’s game to lose and we lost it,” Kyle Barraclough said. “None of us did our job. We just have to come back better tomorrow ready to go. This was, for myself, especially pathetic.”
The Mets (45-37) scored two runs each off the typically reliable late-inning tandem of Barraclough, David Phelps and recently acquired Fernando Rodney to move 2½ games ahead of the Marlins (43-40) in the standings.
Yoenis Cespedes’ two-run double to right-center field on a 97-mph fastball from Rodney in the bottom of the eighth inning scored Travis d’Arnaud and Neil Walker with the go-ahead runs.
Rodney had only allowed two runs and only one earned run in 30 2/3 innings this season for a 0.29 ERA entering the game. Rodney had pitched a scoreless inning in each of his two relief appearances for the Marlins since being acquired in a trade with the Padres last Thursday.
“That’s the pitch I want, a fastball,” Rodney said. “[Cespedes] made good contact. That’s the game. The bullpen has been working a lot, and working good. You’re not going to be perfect all the time, but we try the best we can every time.”
With a 6-2 lead, Barraclough opened the sixth by loading the bases on two singles and a walk. D’Arnaud blooped a single to score a run and scored another on a double play ground ball by Kelly Johnson.
Phelps walked Walker to start the seventh and then Cespedes followed with a line drive that barely got under Martin Prado’s glove at third and resulted in a double. With runners on second and third and no outs, the Mets scored two more runs on outs before Phelps got them out of the inning.
“The back end has been our strength,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “So you have to give them credit. They scratch [Barraclough] for two, Phelps for two, and Fernando for two. We’re not able to stop them. We don’t score after the fourth. We kind of get stalled out. That’s it.”
The Marlins built their large early lead with 11 hits off Mets’ starter Matt Harvey, who left the game in the fourth inning after surrendering six runs (five earned). It was Harvey’s worst start since May 24 and he lasted only 3 2/3 innings in consecutive starts.
Harvey’s unearned run resulted from his own throwing error and led to the Marlins scoring three in the fourth.
Prado hit a one-hopper back to the mound that Harvey fielded quickly, but threw low and wide and got away from d’Arnaud, allowing Chris Johnson to score. Christian Yelich followed with a single that drove in Adeiny Hechavarria and J.T. Realmuto, who each singled earlier in the inning.
Realmuto totaled four hits and has hit seven in a row following his three hits Sunday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The Marlins scored their first three in the second on the first of three hits by Johnson, a double by Hechavarria and a single by starting pitcher Tom Koehler — his second hit of the season.
After giving up four runs in the first in each of his past two starts, Koehler got through the first unscathed on six pitches.
But the Mets started their comeback with a pair of solo home runs by d’Arnaud and Curtis Granderson in the fourth and fifth innings respectively off Koehler, who exited after five innings after allowing seven hits and one walk.
Ichiro Suzuki led off the eighth inning with a double that put him within 10 hits of the 3,000-hit mark for his career. But a failed bunt attempt by Prado led to a double play and the Marlins eventually stranded Suzuki at third.
“Losses are losses and every one of them are [bad],” Realmuto said. “Obviously some hurt more than others. Having the lead in a game like that against Harvey and putting up runs like that and getting a 6-0 cushion ... obviously it hurts.”