MIAMI (AP) - Florida outfielder Scott Cousins took a risky gamble.
Too risky, as it turned out.
With two on and nobody out for the New York Mets in the 10th inning, Cousins had two options: Let David Wright's flyball drop harmlessly in right-field foul ground, or make the catch and potentially allow both runners to move into scoring position in a tie game.
Cousins made what he thought was the right choice. So did Wright, for that matter - who made him pay anyway.
Taking advantage of the extended at-bat, Wright's third hit brought Jose Reyes home with the go-ahead run in the 10th, Willie Harris added a big two-run single later in the inning, and the Mets wasted a ninth-inning lead before beating the Marlins 6-4.
``A guy like that, you don't give him second chances,' Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said.
Lesson learned, Cousins said later.
``I absolutely could have made the play,' Cousins said. ``I made a game-time decision. ... Looking back, yeah, I should have made the play now, but in the moment I thought I did the right thing.'
Wright also homered for the Mets, who got three hits from Josh Thole and two hits from Ike Davis.
Logan Morrison drove in two runs and Emilio Bonifacio had two hits for the Marlins, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning before managing one hit over the next seven frames.
Mets manager Terry Collins grabbed the lineup card on his way out of the dugout, giving it a kiss after his first victory with his new club.
And it didn't come easily, either.
``It's games like that that test your character,' Collins said.
Francisco Rodriguez (1-0) got the win despite blowing a save chance by giving up three hits and a walk in the ninth for New York. Blaine Boyer gave up an RBI single in the 10th to Brett Hayes but held on for his second career save, the other coming May 14, 2008.
Thole put the Mets up 3-2 with a two-out single in the ninth off Leo Nunez, and New York turned the game over to Rodriguez. K-Rod hadn't pitched in a real game since Aug. 14.
The rust showed.
He gave up a walk and three hits, including Greg Dobbs' two-out single to center that brought John Buck home with the tying run. The Mets' closer was banished for the last seven-plus weeks of the 2010 season after being charged with attacking his girlfriend's father at Citi Field.
But the Mets got him off the hook in the 10th against Ryan Webb (0-1), who faced three batters - all of whom scored.
``I think my pitches were working,' K-Rod said. ``I lost a couple battles ... but tomorrow's another day.'
Reyes led off the 10th with a single, his first hit in nine at_bats this season, went to second on Angel Pagan's bunt single, and scored easily on Wright's single to center.
Wright initially didn't even realize what Cousins did. Unbothered, he delivered a single to center, clapping his hands forcefully after rounding first base. And Harris' single later in the inning brought home Pagan and Wright.
``You've got to give him credit for kind of being heads-up,' said Wright, who added that Mets' first-base coach Mookie Wilson agreed that Cousins made the smarter of two possible moves.
The starters, Florida's Ricky Nolasco and New York's Jon Niese, each gave up two runs in seven innings.
Morrison's two-run single in the first inning opened the scoring, the third hit the Marlins collected - Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez reached and scored - off Niese in the game's first five batters.
Niese then retired 11 straight, and his team eventually rewarded him.
Wright's homer, just his sixth in 214 at_bats in the Marlins' ballpark, led off the fourth. Davis tied it in the sixth, his double to right-center rolling to the wall and bringing Carlos Beltran home to knot the game 2-all.
Meanwhile, the Marlins lost more than a game.
Florida third baseman Donnie Murphy left after getting hit by a pitch and bruising his right hand. Murphy beat Matt Dominguez out for the job in spring training - and Dominguez may miss up to two months after breaking his left elbow when he was hit by a pitch in a Triple-A game on Friday.
X-rays on Murphy were negative. He's day to day.
The way Wright sees things, the Mets got more than a win. They got some lessons to help get them through the 160 remaining games.
``A win's a win, but at the same time, the way that we won it is important,' Wright said. ``To kind of lose it there late and come back the very next inning and get that momentum back on our side is impressive. From what I've seen being in the league, that's what winning teams do.'
NOTES: Marlins CF Chris Coghlan robbed Davis of what almost certainly would have been extra bases by making a full-extension, diving grab of a sinking liner in the fourth. ... Mets rookie 2B Brad Emaus got his first career hit, a ball that skipped away from Ramirez.
The Associated Press News Service
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