Marlins tie Cubs for final NL wild-card spot after doubleheader split vs. Mets
NEW YORK (AP) — After a long day on a dry field in Queens, the Miami Marlins still hold their playoff prospects in their own hands.
Jon Berti hit a leadoff homer to complete his twi-night cycle and Miami pulled even in the down-to-the-wire race for the National League's final postseason spot, beating the New York Mets 4-2 on Wednesday for a doubleheader split.
“All year, it feels like we’re coming back. We’re always in it and it doesn’t matter who it is,” rookie manager Skip Schumaker said. “Berti had a huge day — both games were just giant.”
Jesús Sánchez also went deep and the Marlins took advantage of an error by rookie third baseman Brett Baty to score twice in the ninth inning. Miami is tied for the third NL wild card with the Chicago Cubs, who lost 6-5 in 10 innings at NL East champion Atlanta. Both teams are 82-76 with four games left, and the Marlins have the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Francisco Lindor had three homers and six RBIs in the doubleheader, giving him his first season with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
“I don't really play for numbers, but it's really hard to not play for numbers here in New York. Numbers come up a lot here,” Lindor said. “But it means a lot, to be in the category of guys I idolized growing up.”
In the opener, Pete Alonso was 4 for 4 with a homer, Lindor drove in four runs and the Mets tagged Braxton Garrett early in rolling to an 11-2 rout.
“Obviously, game one didn’t go the way we wanted, but this has been a resilient group all year. So didn’t faze us one bit,” said Berti, who has a 1.905 OPS over his past eight games.
Alonso barely missed a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning of the nightcap when his two-out double hit the top of the left-field wall. After an intentional walk to Lindor, left-hander Matt Moore (5-1) retired DJ Stewart on a popup.
Miami loaded the bases against Adam Ottavino (1-7) with nobody out in the ninth on two singles and an intentional walk. Xavier Edwards scored the go-ahead run when Baty flubbed a grounder by pinch-hitter Yuli Gurriel. One out later, Bryan De La Cruz added an RBI single.
Andrew Nardi got three outs for his third save.
Lindor hit a two-run homer right-handed in the opener, then a pair of solo shots from the left side off starter Johnny Cueto early in the nightcap. That made the $341 million shortstop the fourth player in Mets history with a 30-30 season. He joined Howard Johnson, Darryl Strawberry and David Wright, the last to accomplish the feat in 2007.
It was Lindor's 15th multi-homer game and first since April 15, 2022.
After hitting a single, double and triple in the first game, Berti launched his seventh home run to start the nightcap. Sánchez also had a solo shot off Kodai Senga, who surpassed 200 strikeouts in the final start of his splendid rookie year. The right-hander waved to the crowd of 24,966 as he walked off to a standing ovation after whiffing Jake Burger for No. 200 to end the third.
“It's hard to throw for personal goals,” Senga said through a translator. “Hopefully next year I’m no longer the ace because we get good free agents or good trades to power up our rotation."
Senga allowed three hits in five innings and struck out eight to finish 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA and 202 strikeouts in his first big league season since arriving from Japan. The only Mets rookie with more was Dwight Gooden, who holds the major league rookie record with 276 in 1984.
Gooden sat in the front row behind the Mets' dugout Wednesday.
“I think I learned a lot this year,” Senga said.
Burger was ejected by plate umpire Ramon De Jesus when he threw down his helmet after taking a called third strike with the bases loaded to end the seventh. Schumaker came out to argue and also got tossed.
“I’m a little upset. Burger didn’t say anything. He threw his helmet down out of frustration, didn’t throw it at him. It’s a very intense game. Big, high-level moment in our season,” Schumaker said. “By the way, he was right. It was a ball. That’s frustrating. Every pitch matters. Get it right. And if you get it wrong, that’s OK. But don’t toss out one of our best players. Where we are in the season, don’t be so sensitive is what my issue was."
The first game was a makeup after the series opener was postponed Tuesday night because of unplayable field conditions. The infield at Citi Field wasn’t covered with a tarp for at least some portion of last weekend, when rain from Tropical Storm Ophelia began pelting New York City for four straight days.
The tarp was on the field Tuesday, but when showers finally subsided in the late afternoon and the tarp was removed, the messy field was too soggy to play.
That forced a doubleheader Wednesday that affected Miami’s pitching plans in the final days of a heated playoff race — angering team officials, according to a report by The Athletic.
Mets owner Steven Cohen apologized to the Marlins and their fans on social media for the postponement.
“It’s been weird, but it’s no excuse,” Garrett said after losing the opener.
Alonso, Lindor and Mark Vientos each launched a two-run homer to help the Mets build a 6-0 lead in the opener for Joey Lucchesi (4-0), who took a shutout into the seventh.
Alonso scored a career-high four runs and finished a triple short of the cycle in busting out of a 3-for-38 slump. He also was hit by a pitch in the eighth.
Garrett (9-7) permitted four runs and three hits in four innings. He had yielded three runs or fewer in each of his past 10 starts.
“I had trouble with my cutter today, keeping it up in the zone,” Garrett said. “I'm really proud of the season, and hopefully it's not the last one.”
Alonso tied Howard Johnson for fourth place in Mets history with 192 home runs.
Marlins: All-Star infielder Luis Arraez (sprained left ankle) sat out both games. He leads the majors with a .353 batting average. ... RHP Huascar Brazobán (left hip impingement) was reinstated from the injured list Tuesday night when closer Tanner Scott went on the paternity list.
Mets: RF Starling Marte (right groin strain) will not return this season.
Marlins LHP Jesús Luzardo (10-9, 3.73 ERA) starts the finale of the three-game series Thursday night against LHP David Peterson (3-8, 5.37).
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