After falling behind 3-0 in the first inning in their first-ever game at the new Marlins Park on Friday, the Mets clawed their way back into the game before grabbing a 5-3 lead on a two-run double by Mike Baxter in the eighth. But for a team fresh off three straight comeback victories in Philadelphia, a fourth straight come-from-behind win — and a sixth straight ‘W’ — was not in the cards. The Fish scored one in the eighth and two in the ninth, with Greg Dobbs lofting a line drive into right-center off Frank Francisco to plate Emilio Bonifacio and give Florida the 6-5 win.
Johan Santana got knocked around in the first inning, starting with a triple from ex-teammate Jose Reyes that was misjudged slightly by center fielder Andres Torres. Omar Infante proceeded to loop one into left field to give Florida the lead, and then with one out Austin Kearns launched a two-run shot to extend the lead to 3-0.
Santana settled in after that, and he and Marlins lefty Mark Buehrle traded scoreless frames through the fourth. Then, in the top of the fifth, the Mets got on the board on a solo shot from Ike Davis, a laser over the right field wall and Ike’s fifth of the season. The Mets pulled to within 3-2 in the seventh on an RBI double from Mike Nickeas.
In the eighth, the Mets worked their comeback magic against Marlins reliever Edward Mujica. David Wright, the only Met with three hits in the game, sparked the rally with a leadoff double and moved over to third on a groundout by Lucas Duda. Pinch-hitting for Scott Hairston, Kirk Nieuwenhuis proceeded to rope a double down the right field line to tie it at three. Then, Mujica intentionally walked Davis and allowed a free pass to Ronny Cedeno.
With the bases loaded and one out, Ryan Webb came on for Florida and Baxter came to the plate to pinch-hit for Nickeas. Baxter came up huge, lacing a double into left-center to bring home Davis and Nieuwenhuis and give the Mets a 5-3 lead.
But then, what had all the makings of yet another amazin’ comeback turned into a late-inning disappointment.
Bobby Parnell came on in the eighth, and with one out Davis misplayed a Reyes grounder to put him on first. Infante, who went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, doubled home Reyes to pull the Marlins within one.
After a 1-2-3 top of the ninth for ex-Met Heath Bell, Francisco entered the game trying to protect a one-run lead. But he just didn’t have his best stuff Friday night. Giancarlo Stanton led off by smoking a fat 1-2 pitch past shortstop, and it was hit so hard that it rolled all the way to the wall for a double. Stanton advanced to third on a sac fly by Gaby Sanchez, and then, with the infield in, Bonifacio grounded one through the right side to tie it at 5-5. Bonifacio swiped second before Francisco got John Buck looking at a 3-2 fastball for the second out.
Francisco’s next pitch was also a fastball, but this time, the location was poor. It was 95 miles per hour up in the zone, perfect for Dobbs to line into right center and send Bonifacio home to win it without a throw. The blown save was Francisco’s second of the year, and after giving up two runs in 0.2 innings his season ERA ballooned to 6.59.
Santana, who stayed at 1-2 on the year with the no-decision, had a final line of 6 innings, 3 earned runs, no walks and 7 K’s. Bell earned the win. Meanwhile, Reyes went 1-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored, and was thrown out at first on a nifty barehanded play by Wright to end the fifth.
The Marlins have now won nine out of their last 10 games to improve to 17-15 on the year, while the Mets fell to 18-15 with the loss.