Jake Burger hit a walk-off single to lift the Miami Marlins to a 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday at loanDepot park and back a strong outing from left-handed pitcher Braxton Garrett.
The Marlins improve to 79-73. The Mets fall to 70-81.
“Big hit at the end from Burger,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “We love when he’s up in leverage spots and he did it again.”
After the Mets tied the game in the top of the ninth on a two-out, two-run double from Brandon Nimmo against Tanner Scott, Nick Fortes reached on a hit by pitch (his second of the game) to lead off the inning and got to second on an Xavier Edwards sacrifice bunt.
After the Mets intentionally walked Jorge Soler, the Marlins pinch-ran Joey Wendle for Fortes. Yuli Gurriel, who entered in the top of the eighth as a defensive replaced, moved both runners up with a groundout before Burger sent a Trevor Gott cutter to center field for Miami’s ninth walk-off win and 40th overall come-from-behind win of the season.
It was Burger’s second walk-off hit with the Marlins.
“I just got in the box and try to calm myself down in those situations because it’s really easy to get outside of yourself,” Burger said. “Fortunate to pick up Tanner because he’s been picking us up all year. Obviously couldn’t pick him up last night, but we could tonight. ... Fortunately, I got a pitch I could handle.”
Here are three takeaways from the game.
The Marlins almost always find a way to win when Braxton Garrett pitches
Garrett is having a career year, setting single-season marks for starts (29), innings pitched (155 2/3) and strikeouts (154) while pitching to a 3.53 ERA and holding opponents to a .251 batting average and 1.14 WHIP — all three of which would also be career bests if he keeps those rates.
The Marlins as a whole have succeeded when he’s on the mound, too.
Miami is 21-8 in Garrett’s starts this year, including 8-2 in his 10 quality starts.
Pretty good considering Garrett began the season as the Marlins’ long reliever out of the bullpen and only joined the rotation due to injuries.
“Really dumb manager having him in the bullpen to start the year,” Schumaker said with a laugh. “He’s proven me wrong, which is great. I love when people get proved wrong, especially me if it means that they’re having a really successful year. ... We love Brax on the mound.”
Tuesday was more of the same. Garrett threw six strong innings, allowing just one unearned run on five hits and a pair of fielding errors while striking out seven and not issuing a walk.
It marks Garrett’s 10th quality start of the season — defined as pitching at least six innings while allowing no more than three earned runs — and seventh in his past 10 starts.
In this 10-start stretch, dating back to July 28, Garrett has a 2.10 ERA (13 earned runs allowed in 55 2/3 innings), which is the second-best in MLB during this timeframe behind only the San Diego Padres’ Blake Snell (2.04). Garrett has now held opponents to one earned run or fewer in an MLB-leading 16 starts this season.
And all of this is coming amid a playoff push — his first as a professional baseball player.
“We’re in a race here,” Garrett said. “I feel the nerves before these games. I feel like I should pitch good for the team.”
But the Mets made Garrett work early.
He gave up a leadoff double to Nimmo and a single to Ronny Mauricio to have runners on second and third with no outs to begin his start. He got out of the jam by striking out Pete Alonso, getting a forceout at home on a Francisco Lindor groundball and getting Francisco Alvarez to hit into an inning-ending groundout.
“In situations like that, I kind of like to just assume a run’s gonna score and try to limit it the best I can, just figure out how to get guys out pitch to pitch,” Garrett said. “I thought I did a good job that inning.”
The only run the Mets scored against Garrett came in the third inning. Alonso hit a two-out single to left and got to second on a Jon Berti fielding error. Alonso scored on an errant throw from Garrett on a Lindor groundball to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead.
After that, Garrett retired the final 10 batters he faced, four via strikeout and the offense rallied to back its starting pitcher.
Who stepped up on offense without Luis Arraez?
The Marlins had to shake up their lineup about an hour before the game after All-Star second baseman Arraez was scratched following a left ankle sprain that occurred during pregame fielding drills.
It took a couple innings, but the offense collectively strung together enough hits to rally their way past the Mets.
It began in the third inning, when Josh Bell’s two-out double that stayed fair down the first-base line and skipped into right field scored Jorge Soler, who doubled to right-center one at-bat earlier, to tie the game at 1-1. The double was Bell’s first extra-base hit since Sept. 9.
Miami took the lead in the fourth when Jon Berti led off the inning with a double, Nick Fortes got hit by a pitch and an Xavier Edwards bunt single coupled with a throwing error from Mets starter Joey Lucchesi allowed Berti to score.
The Marlins tacked on a third — and needed — run in the sixth on a Garrett Hampson RBI single that scored Jake Burger, who led off the inning with a single and got to second on a wild pitch.
And then came the walk-off.
Where things stand in the playoff race
With the win, the Marlins at worst will remain a half-game out of a playoff spot with 10 regular-season games left.
Exactly where they will be in the standings will be determined by the results of three games: Minnesota Twins at Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks, and Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs.