MIAMI — Jake Burger hit a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Miami Marlins beat the New York Mets 4-3 on Tuesday night after blowing a late lead.
Josh Bell had an early RBI double and Braxton Garrett did not allow an earned run in six stellar innings for the Marlins, who remained a half-game behind the Chicago Cubs for the final NL wild card.
“All wins aren’t pretty,” Miami manager Skip Schumaker said. “That was not one of our cleanest games I’ve ever seen in my life. Baserunning and defensively, just wasn’t real clean. But when you can win those games, you feel pretty good about it.”
All-Star infielder Luis Arraez, who leads the majors with a .354 batting average, was a late scratch from Miami’s lineup because of a left ankle sprain. Arraez said he stepped on a baseball during pregame drills.
“I hope I feel better (Wednesday), but the good thing is we won and I’m happy about that,” Arraez said. “It feels sore. It’s not 100%. I’m human.”
Miami took a 3-1 lead into the ninth, but closer Tanner Scott (9-5) gave up a two-run double to Brandon Nimmo with two outs. Scott also served up Jeff McNeil’s tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning of Monday night’s 2-1 loss.
Before that, the left-hander hadn’t permitted an earned run in 18 appearances since July 31 and converted six consecutive save opportunities.
New York reliever Trevor Gott (0-5) hit Nick Fortes with a pitch leading off the bottom of the ninth. Xavier Edwards’ sacrifice bunt advanced Fortes and, after Jorge Soler was intentionally walked, Yuli Gurriel’s groundout advanced pinch-runner Joey Wendle and Soler.
Burger then lined an 0-2 pitch into center field to end it.
“I just get in the box and try to calm myself in those situations,” Burger said. “It’s easy to get outside of yourself. I’m fortunate to pick up Tanner because he’s been picking us up all year.”
McNeil hit a leadoff double in the top of the ninth and went to third on Mark Vientos’ single. Two outs later, Nimmo’s drive to deep right-center scored McNeil and DJ Stewart.
Jon Berti hit a leadoff double in the fifth for Miami and scored on a throwing error by Mets starter Joey Lucchesi to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. Lucchesi fielded Edwards’ bunt and threw to third — which was uncovered after third baseman Ronny Mauricio also charged the ball.
“Made a mental mistake,” Lucchesi said. “You have to make sure you learn from them and not do them again. Kind of embarrassing — nobody’s there and you throw it away.”
Garrett Hampson’s RBI single in the sixth made it 3-1.
Garrett also committed a throwing error that led to the Mets’ first run in the third. Pete Alonso scored from second when Garrett fielded Francisco Lindor’s dribbler near the third-base line and made an errant toss past first.
Consecutive two-out doubles from Soler and Bell in the bottom half tied it at 1.
Garrett struck out seven and allowed five hits. The left-hander has completed six innings in five of his last six outings.
“We’re in a race here and I feel the nerves before these games,” Garrett said. “I think that’s a really good thing. I feel like I should pitch good for the team and I’ve handled it pretty well.”
The Mets had an opportunity to break it open early when Nimmo hit a leadoff single and Mauricio followed with a double in the first. But then Garrett struck out Alonso, got Lindor to ground into a fielder’s choice that cut down Nimmo at home plate, and retired Francisco Álvarez on a grounder.
“The first inning is probably the ballgame,” New York manager Buck Showalter said. “We have to push something across there.”
Lucchesi’s outing ended after 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander gave up three runs and six hits, struck out five and walked two.
The South Florida Chapter of the BBWAA chose Arraez as the Marlins’ 2023 Most Valuable Player and pitcher Eury Pérez as the team’s Rookie of the Year. Arraez was not available to receive the award during a brief pregame ceremony.
Mets: Rookie 3B Brett Baty (left groin strain) missed his sixth straight game. He was available to pinch hit. … RF Starling Marte (right groin strain) moved his rehabilitation to the Mets’ spring training facility in Port St. Lucie. Marte did running drills while with the club for the series opener Monday.
Marlins: OF Bryan De La Cruz returned after a four-game absence because of right ankle discomfort and went 1 for 4.
Rookie RHP Kodai Senga (11-7, 2.95 ERA) pitches the series finale Wednesday for the Mets against Marlins RHP Eury Pérez (5-5, 3.06).
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB