Yoenis Cespedes set Citi Field on fire with a walk off homerun in the bottom of the 10th to bring the Mets even with the slumping Marlins.
Returning to the line-up after missing Sunday’s painful loss, Cespedes and his questionable quad gave the Mets a much needed 2-1 win, proving that a trip back to the playoffs will not be feasible without him.
Rafael Montero, filling in for the roughed up and in need of rest Jacob deGrom, made the most of his starting role, in light of the career high six walks he surrendered.
Making his first start since April 28, 2015, Montero lasted five erratic innings of 100 pitch ball, allowing 2 hits, striking out 3, but no runs, keeping pace with Marlins ace Jose Fernandez who entered with a 3-0, 1.54 ERA in his seven previous starts against the Mets.
Fernandez also struggled with his control, giving up 3 hits, walking 4 (one intentional) giving NY numerous opportunities to score with multiple runners on base. And with failed attempts by Curtis Granderson, James Loney, and Wilmer Flores, it appeared that this was not going to be a happy ending for the home team.
But Montero got some help out of his own hot water, after loading the bases in the 4th with a hit and a couple of walks, Kelly Johnson made a clutch grab of Fernandez’s sharp grounder to third for the final out of the inning.
Jerry Blevins and Sean Gilmartin kept the Marlins out of the run scoring business in relief of Montero, then handed the reins to Addison Reed in the top of the 8th.
After Reed recorded the first two outs, he couldn’t escape a single turned into a double by the still speedy 42-year old Ichiro Suzuki, who one batter later broke the scoreless tie, on Xavier Scruggs double to left.
Jose Reyes responded in the bottom of the inning with a lead off hit to right that ironically became a double on a ball that scooted by a sliding Suzuki. After Alejandro De Aza’s fly ball to left brought Reyes to third, a wild pitch by A.J. Ramos sent a head first diving Reyes to the plate with the tying run.
Josh Smoker was smoking in the top of the 10th, retiring the side in order, paving the way for Cespedes heroic game winning home run blast.
Tuesday, rookie Seth Lugo, coming off his first MLB win against the Cards, with five shut out innings, will face off against NY born and raised right hander Tom Koehler for sole second position behind St Louis in the wild card.