Phelps squanders lead as Marlins lose to Mets 6-4
MIAMI (AP) Miami Marlins right-hander David Phelps entered the game in the eighth inning Saturday with a plan and a lead, neither of which helped him.
James Loney whacked Phelps' first pitch for a double, starting a comeback that helped the New York Mets beat Miami 6-4.
''It's a bad pitch from the get-go,'' Phelps said. ''We were talking in the bullpen about getting a cutter in his hands. It's a stupid pitch from the start.''
Michael Conforto followed with an RBI single to make the score 3-all, and pinch hitter Matt Reynolds' two-out RBI single put the Mets ahead to stay.
Miami fell to 28-5 when leading or tied after seven innings. The two runs off Phelps (4-4) raised his ERA to 2.27, and newcomer Cody Hall allowed two more runs in the ninth.
''Most of the time, our bullpen's been really good for us in the lockdown games,'' manager Don Mattingly said. ''We've had a little trouble lately, but that's just part of the season. I still have a lot of confidence in the guys we have out there.''
Conforto also hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth. He was a last-minute addition to the lineup when slugger Yoenis Cespedes was scratched because of a sore right hip, part of a wave of injuries for the Mets.
New York center fielder Juan Lagares made a diving, backhanded catch to rob pinch hitter Ichiro Suzuki of a two-run single and end the sixth, but he hurt his left thumb on the play and left the game in the eighth.
Shortstop Asdrubel Cabrera also drew the trainer's attention because of tightness in his forearm, but stayed in the game.
The Mets were hopeful none of the injuries was serious. But the lineup shuffling left the bench so depleted that pitcher Jacob deGrom was sent up to pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth. He popped out.
''We've had some injuries and some guys out,'' Conforto said. ''It was a great game, back and forth, and to grind this one out, it's huge.''
Conforto batted .365 in April, but the recent slump has dropped his average to .247. He said he's starting to see the ball better and was buoyed by his contribution to the win.
''Definitely a step in the right direction,'' the 2014 first-round draft pick said. ''It's a very, very positive thing, and something I can feel good about going home today.''
Reynolds put New York ahead in the eighth with the second hit and first RBI of his big league career. Alejandro De Aza contributed a two-out, two-run double in the ninth.
Jim Henderson (1-2) retired the only batter he faced in the seventh. Jeurys Familia gave up a two-out RBI single to Christian Yelich in the ninth before earning his 34th consecutive save, including 18 this year.
Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .202. He was robbed of a hit in the third when Bartolo Colon made a nice play on a comebacker.
''Bartolo actually makes an unbelievable play on him,'' Mattingly said. ''That ball is a hit nine out of 10 times.''
Miami starter Justin Nicolino gave up nine hits but only two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Marlins RHP Edwin Jackson cleared waivers and was given his unconditional release.
The Marlins will try to avert a three-game sweep when ace Jose Fernandez (8-2, 2.53) starts Sunday against Mets RHP Matt Harvey (4-7, 5.37), who showed signs of shaking his early season doldrums by pitching seven shutout innings in his most recent outing.
Fernandez is 6-0 in his past six starts with an ERA of 1.38. He's 22-1 in 32 career starts at Marlins Park.