Conforto's RBI in 8th helps Mets rally past Marlins 6-4
MIAMI (AP) The New York Mets are hurting, which is why they were so happy to see Michael Conforto give his ailing average a boost.
Conforto ended an 0-for-20 skid with an RBI single in the eighth and scored the tiebreaking run on pinch hitter Matt Reynolds' two-out single later in the inning to help the short-handed Mets rally past the Miami Marlins 6-4 on Saturday.
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.
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 right-hander 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 a two-out single for his 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 fell to 28-5 when leading or tied after seven innings.
''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.''
Mets newcomer James Loney had three hits, including a leadoff double in the eighth against David Phelps (4-4). Conforto followed with an RBI single and advanced on a groundout. After Curtis Granderson was intentionally walked, Reynolds singled to put New York ahead to stay.
Wilmer Flores, subbing for the injured David Wright, had three hits to hike his average to .224. Martin Prado hit his first homer of the season for the Marlins.
The Mets' Bartolo Colon allowed two runs, one earned, in five innings. Miami starter Justin Nicolino gave up nine hits but only two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit the ball hard twice, but went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .202.
Cespedes was ruled out 30 minutes before the game, and was unavailable to pinch-hit. He and manager Terry Collins said they don't think the hip will sideline him long.
''I'm not really concerned,'' Cespedes said through a translator. ''This has happened two other times. It happened in the offseason and during spring training. After two or three days of treatment, it will be fine.''
Lagares said his thumb was numb but didn't hurt, and he awaited an examination by a doctor. He initially tried to stay in the game and delivered an RBI single, but then decided to come out.
''I felt a little weird and didn't want to take a chance and wanted to make sure it's OK,'' he said.
Backup catcher Kevin Plawecki cost the Mets a run when he failed to touch the plate on a force play at the plate in the second, and in the next inning he doubled but was then picked off. He also struck out twice with runners aboard.
Marlins RHP Edwin Jackson cleared waivers and was given his unconditional release.
THE GAME HAS CHANGED
Before the game, the movie ''Little Big League'' was on the TV in the office of Collins, and he paused briefly to watch Ken Griffey Jr. bat. ''You notice there's no shift on Griffey in this movie,'' Collins said.
Marlins ace Jose Fernandez (8-2, 2.53) is scheduled to start 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.