By CHARLES O’BRIEN Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) _ Kelly Johnson’s three-run double in the eighth inning broke a tie and lifted the surging New York Mets to a 5-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.
Yoenis Cespedes began the rally by singling off reliever A.J. Ramos (1-2) to start the inning. Curtis Granderson walked. Wilmer Flores flew out to center, advancing a hustling Cespedes to third. After Jay Bruce flew out to right, Travis d’Arnaud walked to load the bases, bringing up Johnson.
Johnson, who was 25-for-79 with the bases loaded in his career with 74 RBIs, drove the ball into the right field corner. He emphatically clapped his hands and swung his arms into the air after reaching second base.
Addison Reed (4-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning for the win, the Mets’ third in a row. Jeurys Familia closed for his 44th save, establishing a new franchise record.
Ramos blew the save in Monday’s series-opener, allowing Jose Reyes to score on a wild pitch after doubling to start the eighth inning.
Christian Yelich homered for Miami, which dropped its fifth consecutive game to fall two games behind New York as both teams continue to chase St. Louis for the second NL wild card.
New York had plenty of opportunities against Miami starter Jake Esch, who was making his major league debut. After a pair of strikeouts in the first inning, Esch allowed four consecutive baserunners in the second, including Wilmer Flores’ 15th home run. He pitched himself of out trouble in the fourth by inducing a double play from Mets’ starter Bartolo Colon.
The Marlins caught a break when 42-year old Ichiro Suzuki leaped above the center field wall to take a potential two-run homer away from Curtis Granderson in the fifth.
With New York already leading 2-1 and runners on first and second, All-Star Marcell Ozuna made a diving catch on Flores’ sinking line drive to end the third inning. After initially stepping to his left, Ozuna quickly changed direction, ranging to his right and made a nifty grab before tumbling over. Ozuna rolled over several times before coming to a stop.
Jeff Francouer entered the game in right field to start the bottom of the fourth, with Suzuki sliding over from center.
Mets: 2B Neil Walker was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his neck. The team was awaiting a second opinion to determine if he’d need immediate surgery or could play through the injury
Marlins: RHP David Phelps was placed on the 15-day DL prior to the game with a strained oblique. He suffered the injury on his first swing during pitcher’s batting practice on Tuesday .. RHP Andrew Cashner threw a bullpen session and manager Don Mattingly said he felt good about him starting on Friday. Cashner was scratched from his last scheduled start because of a blister.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (7-7, 2.96 ERA) pitches the series finale. deGrom (rest) was scheduled to pitch in Friday’s opener against Washington after a nine-day layoff, but was moved up a day with Steven Matz (shoulder) not yet ready to come off of the disabled list.
Marlins: RHP Jose Urena (2-5, 5.83 ERA) opposes deGrom. He’s lost four of six starts since moving to the Marlins’ rotation on July 19.
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