Lone walk by Koehler costly in Marlins' 6-2 loss to Mets
MIAMI (AP) Command has been an issue for Miami Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler, so he was pleased to allow only one base on balls Friday night.
It was costly, however.
Koehler left the game after walking the leadoff batter in the seventh inning, and James Loney hit reliever Mike Dunn's first pitch for a tiebreaking two run homer, which helped the New York Mets beat Miami 6-2.
The score was 2-all when Koehler talked manager Don Mattingly into letting him return to the mound for the seventh.
''When your manager asks you if you're still good and you tell him, `Yes,' he's probably not expecting you to walk the first guy you face,'' Koehler said. ''It ended up being a big one.''
Koehler (3-6) had issued five bases on balls in each of his previous four starts, and his walk rate was the highest of any starter in the majors.
Left-hander Dunn is trying to find his form after missing the first two months of the season with a strained left forearm.
''It's my fifth game in two months,'' he said. ''Ultimately, I just expect to pitch better. There are no excuses.''
Three Mets homers were more than enough support for Noah Syndergaard, who struck out nine in seven innings.
Backup catcher Rene Rivera hit a two-run homer and Asdrubal Cabrera also homered for the Mets, whose 76 homers lead the NL. Wilmer Flores, assuming an everyday role after third baseman David Wright went on the disabled list Friday, had two hits and drove in a run.
''It's huge, especially with the unfortunate news about David today,'' Syndergaard said. ''That's the thing about us - we have the ability to pick one another up. It's a great thing to be a part of. I feel like we're really going to take off from here.''
Syndergaard (6-2) gave up a homer on a 100-mph fastball to Marcell Ozuna, but allowed only two runs, which increased his ERA to 1.91, third-best in the majors.
''You have to tip your cap to guy who has quality stuff,'' Mattingly said. ''He hasn't been doing what he's been doing this year for no reason.''
Syndergaard wasn't impressed with his stuff.
''I didn't have a great feel for my changeup,'' he said. ''My curveball was not very good. My slider was decent. I really had to battle out there.''
Flores hiked his average to .190 filling in for Wright, who is expected to be sidelined at least six weeks and perhaps much longer with a herniated disk in his neck.
The Marlins stole three bases in the seventh and still couldn't score against Syndergaard. Pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki singled and stole second, and after pinch hitter J.T. Realmuto walked, both advanced on a two-out double steal.
But Syndergaard, still throwing 100 mph in his final inning, struck out Derek Dietrich on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat.
Ozuna pulled a low Syndergaard fastball for his 11th homer in the second inning, ending Syndergaard's streak of 22 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
''I thought it was a pretty good pitch,'' Syndergaard said. ''I'll be facing him for a very long time. I'm going to have to avoid that zone.''
Ozuna added a sacrifice fly to make it 2-all in the sixth.
Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen, who is 0 for 28 in his career, tried batting right-handed for the first time in 15 years Thursday and nearly had a hit. ''When I started out playing baseball, I hit right-handed,'' he said. Mattingly said looks a lot better on that side.
Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.39) is scheduled to face LHP Justin Nicolino (2-3, 4.50) on Saturday.