Matt Harvey had his worst outing of the season on Sunday, but the Mets bats were there with some rare support. Harvey even left with the lead but the bullpen coughed it up, with an assist from Terry Collins. When this see-saw game between two bad teams was over, the Marlins were the winners, sweeping the Mets out of Miami.
Juan Pierre led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single, followed by a regular single by Ed Lucas. Harvey got a strikeout for the first out, but Marcell Ozuna tripled over the head of center fielder Rick Ankiel to give the Marlins a 2-0 lead. With the infield in, Chris Coughlan hit a bloop to shallow left. Omar Quintanilla raced back but could not make the catch. Had he not been playing in, he would have caught it easily. Coughlan hustled into second for a double that caught second baseman Daniel Murphy by surprise. He was in no position to make a tag after receiving the throw from Quintanilla. In any case, that made it 3-0. Harvey was able to get the final two outs to limit the damage.
The Mets got one of the runs back in the second when Lucas Duda led off with his 10th home run of the season, making it 3-1.
The Marlins picked up in the second where they left off in the first. Rob Brantly led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice. Pierre walked and Lucas singled to score Brantly to make it 4-1.
Quintanilla added a solo home run in the third to cut the lead to 4-2. In his four games since being recalled to replace the injured and struggling Ruben Tejada, Quintanilla, who had three hits Sunday, is hitting .500.
The Mets tied the game in the fourth with yet another home run — Marlon Byrd walked and Ike Davis hit a long homer to center to make it 4-4.
Quintanilla and David Wright both singled to put runners on first and third with one out in the fifth. That chased starter Kevin Slowey from the game. Duda grounded into a fielder’s choice, Wright out at second. Byrd then singled to score Quintanilla to give the Mets a 5-4 lead — their first lead of the series. Davis singled to plate Duda to extend the lead to 6-4. Davis was two-for-four with three RBIs and is now batting .168, his highest batting average since May 14.
Matt Harvey was done after five innings and 100 pitches. He clearly was not at the top of his game, allowing four runs on 10 hits. He struck out five Marlins and issued two walks.
Scott Rice came on (who else?) in the sixth and walked the bases loaded with one out. Give this guy a few days off, Terry Collins! A red-hot Ozuna, a righty, was up next, and Collins chose to leave Rice in the game although a righty pitcher was ready in the bullpen. Ozuna hit a shot over Duda’s head to score two to tie the game at six. Still Rice remained in the game to face the lefty Coughlan with runners on second and third. With the infield back at second and short, Coughlan hit a grounder to Murphy as a run scored to give the Marlins the lead, 7-6. Greg Dobbs, another lefty, walked. It was at this point that Collins finally removed Rice. Brandon Lyon came in with runners on first and third with two outs and got a fly out to end the inning.
So it appears the reason Collins left Rice in to face Ozuna was because two more lefties were up next. But Rice clearly didn’t have it and should have been removed from the game. Bad move by Collins that helped cost the Mets the game.
With a runner on first and two outs in the seventh, Ed Lucas doubled to left to make it an 8-6 game. The 31-year-old Lucas, who made his big league debut on Thursday after 10 years in the minors, was four-for-four in the game.
LaTroy Hawkins served up a three-run home run to Dobbs to put the game out of reach and start up that hideous homer sculpture in the outfield.
Mets lose 11-6. Matt Harvey gets another no-decision, his seventh in his last eight starts. His ERA rose to 2.17 from 1.85.