The Mets’ fate in their 2-1 loss to the Marlins Tuesday night wasn’t sealed in the third inning. But if you like metaphors, here’s one:
Yoenis Cespedes absolutely crushed a ball to left leading off the inning. On any other night, it would have been a long home run. But with the wind at Citi Field blowing in excess of 20 miles per hour from left to right, Christian Yelich caught it at the wall.
That’s the way it’s gone for the 2-5 Mets, losers of four in a row: There’s a stiff wind blowing in their faces and they are not pushing back quite hard enough yet.
Noah Syndergaard delivered the performance the Mets were craving in his duel with Jose Fernandez. Syndergaard struck out 12, including six of the first seven batters, in seven stellar innings in his second outing of the season. He allowed one run and seven hits and walked one in a 99-pitch effort.
Still, it was not enough as the Mets continued their offensive malaise as they were six-hit by Fernandez and three relievers.
The Marlins broke a 1-1 tie on pinch hitter Martin Prado’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly off Jerry Blevins. The run was charged to Jim Henderson (0-1), who allowed a single and two walks in one-third of an inning.
Dee Gordon led off the inning with a single to cap an incredible 16-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off 11 consecutive 2-and-2 pitches.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first when Curtis Granderson snapped an 0-for-20 slump with a leadoff double. David Wright walked, and one out later Lucas Duda smacked an RBI single to right-center. Duda, though, did not run hard out of the box and was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double after the ball skipped by rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
The Mets left the bases loaded against the struggling Fernandez in the second when Wright flied out to right on a 3-and-2 pitch.
The Marlins tied the score at 1 in the fourth. Marcell Ozuna was called out on a grounder to second, but replay showed Duda’s foot came off the bag. The Marlins successfully challenged and Ozuna had a leadoff single. Two outs later, slugger Justin Bour grounded a shift-beating single to the mostly unoccupied left side of the infield. Derek Dietrich laced a single to right to tie it.
Fernandez went five innings as Don Mattingly removed the righthander after 90 pitches in deference to his post-Tommy John surgery status. Fernandez, who allowed one run, three hits and three walks, retired the last 10 batters he faced and struck out the last four.
Still, when the bottom of the sixth rolled around in a 1-1 game, lefty Craig Breslow was on the mound. Cespedes greeted him with a single and moved to third one out later on Neil Walker’s single to left-center. Terry Collins decided to let Michael Conforto bat against Breslow instead of sending up a righthanded pinch hitter. Conforto was 2-for-3 against lefties going into the at-bat, but he grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Miami had a chance to take the lead, too, in Syndergaard’s final inning. Dietrich led off the seventh with a double and was still at second with two outs when pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki grounded a single to the right of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera fielded the ball and threw to first, but Ichiro beat it out. Dietrich tried to score from second and was thrown out easily by Duda. Well, not easily if you flashed back to Duda’s unfortunate throw in the ninth inning of Game 5 of last year’s World Series. This time, Duda nailed it.