Rafael Montero’s rocky start against the Miami Marlins morphed into a happy ending as the Mets battled back from a six-run deficit to beat Don Mattingly’s school of fish 8-7.
After returning from a rainy night in Georgia, in which their postponed 3-1 lead led to nowhere, DL designated Noah Syndergaard’s replacement surrendered five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, and with no one else to turn to, Terry Collins will be forced to keep Montero in the rotation.
The prospect with so much promise got the first two outs in the first inning then walked the next two batters before retiring Marcello Ozuna on a fly ball to center.
The torrid bat of T.J. Rivera landed him a raise in the line-up, and batting in the two spot he drew first blood in the bottom frame with a solo homer to left.
Montero looked sharp in the second, getting a pair of strikeouts, his only misstep, a single to center by shortstop, Miguel Rojas.
But in the third Miami evened the score on singles by Martin Prado and Ozuna, then in the fourth, the Marlins took Montero to the dugout, sending eleven batters to the plate, scoring six runs, two of which were charged to reliever Josh Smoker.
Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Bour and the red-hot Rojas had three doubles between them for a total of five RBI’s.
Jay Bruce took one for the team to lead off the bottom of the inning, and Curtis Granderson raised the red apple, cutting the deficit 7-3 with a two-run shot to center field.
Hansel Robles had a cringe worthy moment putting runners on the corners in the sixth, but the pinch hitting 43 year-old Ichiro Suzuki, who ain’t what he used to be, popped up to end the inning.
In the seventh, after Marlins reliever Jarlin Garcia got the Mets in order, Don Mattingly, to the delight of the Citi Field fans, replaced him with Brad Ziegler, and NY did a number on his ERA.
Wilmer Flores started the first of six consecutive Mets hits with a soft line drive to field. Jose Reyes rocketed a double, Rene Rivera singled in Flores, and Asdrubal Cabrera poked a pinch-hit to close the gap 7-5.
Magic Michael Conforto loaded the bases with a base hit to center, and T.J. Rivera lined a double to left driving in the tying runs.
Marlins Kyle Barraclough came in to stop the bleeding, and after consecutive strikeouts, with two on, he intentionally walks Granderson on a 3-0 count, loading the bases for the return of Wilmer Flores who walked in the go ahead run, winning run.
Mets relief held the Marlins to five scoreless innings, and it’s nights like tonight that conjure up Tim McGraw’s 1973 rallying cry, “You Gotta Believe.”