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Sports

Mets Lose On Walk-Off Grand Slam

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Giancarlo Stanton (#27) and Austin Kearns of the Miami Marlins (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Giancarlo Stanton (#27) and Austin Kearns of the Miami Marlins (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer

MIAMI (AP) _ Giancarlo Stanton took a lusty swing with his pink
bat, then paused a moment to admire his first game-winning grand
slam before settling into a home run trot.

“That’s one of those no-doubters,” he said. “It’s good I
could stand and watch it.”

Stanton’s two-out slam capped a comeback Sunday by the Miami
Marlins, who scored six times in the ninth inning to beat an angry
Frank Francisco and the New York Mets 8-4.

The walk-off victory was the second in the three-game series for
the Marlins, who have won 10 of their past 12 games, thanks mostly
to their rotation.

“We’re where we’re at because of our pitching,” said catcher
John Buck, who hit a tying homer in the seventh. “It’s kind of
nice to have the bats speak up a bit.”

The Marlins trailed 4-2 when Emilio Bonifacio led off the ninth
with his second triple of the game against the struggling Francisco
(1-3). Buck walked and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs followed with an RBI
single.

Francisco was then replaced, and he walked slowly toward plate
umpire Todd Tichenor, hollering angrily. Manager Terry Collins
stepped between Tichenor and Francisco, who was ejected even though
he was already out of the game.

Francisco waved his index finger and then his cap at the ump
before finally heading to the dugout, his closer’s job in jeopardy.

“I thought I was hitting my spots really good, and I didn’t get
a call,” Francisco said.

“Any time you see the other team lose their cool like that, you
know we’re in the driver’s seat,” Stanton said.

When Francisco’s tirade ended, the Mets’ meltdown continued.
Manny Acosta replaced Francisco, and Jose Reyes’ sacrifice fly made
the score 4-all. After a popup, Hanley Ramirez walked on a 3-2
pitch and Austin Kearns was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Stanton’s Mother’s Day bat then closed out the victory,
launching the first pitch over the left-center wall near the
animated home run sculpture for his seventh homer, and sixth this
month.

At first, Stanton said, he didn’t hear the explosion of noise
from the crowd of 26,401.

“It’s a weird feeling,” he said. “It’s more like silence
where all you see is the ball flying, and once you start going, you
start to hear the big roar by everybody and the excitement.”

After rounding the bases, Stanton tossed his helmet 20 feet high
before hopping into a sea of jubilant Marlins at home plate.

Teammate Logan Morrison gave the 245-pound slugger a celebratory
hoist.

“I didn’t know if his knees were going to hold out,” Stanton
said.

The walk-off win was the fifth for the Marlins in 14 games in
their new ballpark. The Mets closed out a 4-2 trip against division
opponents, with both losses coming on the game’s final swing.

“We didn’t finish the way we were hoping to finish,” Acosta
said through a translator. “It’s a little tough to swallow.”

The Marlins climbed two games above .500 even though they’re
batting just .204 with runners in scoring position, worst in the
majors.

“We’re still not close to our full potential,” Stanton said.
“Once it clicks for everybody, we’re going to be scary.”

Struggling reliever Heath Bell (2-3) earned the victory despite
giving up two runs in the top of the ninth and drawing scattered
boos when the inning ended. Mets pinch-hitter Justin Turner broke a
2-all tie with a two-out, two-run double off Bell, whose ERA rose
to 10.03.

“I liked the way he threw,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen
said. “He just made one bad pitch.”

Mets starter Jonathon Niese pitched six innings despite flulike
symptoms and departed for a pinch-hitter with a 2-0 lead. But it
lasted for only two batters when Ramon Ramirez replaced him.

Bonifacio led off the seventh with a stand-up triple, and Buck
followed with his fourth homer.

Carlos Zambrano pitched seven innings and limited the Mets to
two runs, one earned, which lowered his ERA to 1.88.

“It was important to keep the game close, do my job and let my
teammates do their job,” Zambrano said.

NOTES: Mets 1B Ike Davis was scratched from the starting lineup
with flulike symptoms. He pinch-hit and grounded out to end the
seventh with runners at second and third. … Mets RHP R.A. Dickey
said he felt fine one day after being hit on his right wrist by a
pitch. He threw another two innings after being hit and earned his
fifth victory. … When David Wright singled in the fourth, he
improved to .154 lifetime against Zambrano (4 for 26) with 12
strikeouts. … The retractable roof was closed for all three games
in the series. … The Marlins, who begin a two-game series Monday
against Pittsburgh, beat the Pirates in all six meetings last year.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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