MIAMI (AP) - The New York Mets have struggled in one-run games this season, and they found a unique way to lose another one to the Miami Marlins.
After scoring twice in the eighth inning to pull within a run, the Mets had two runners thrown out at home plate by left fielder Marcell Ozuna - including Kirk Nieuwenhuis to end the 3-2 defeat to the Marlins on Friday night.
New York dropped to 10-18 in one-run games.
'We gave ourselves a shot with guys on, and as I keep saying and nobody wants to believe it, but we're one big hit away from winning all of these close games,' Mets manager Terry Collins said. 'Today was another example of that.'
Nieuwenhuis thought he would score on Chris Young's deep fly ball.
'It's pretty surprising. Hats off to Ozuna,' Nieuwenhuis said. 'He made a great throw. There's no other way to put it.'
Even Ozuna thought the Mets were going to tie the game.
'I didn't think I had a chance to get him out, but I was going to throw it no matter what,' Ozuna said.
Ozuna also threw out David Wright to short-circuit the eighth-inning threat.
'I can't remember seeing a game decided by two great throws from a left fielder and two great tags from the catcher,' Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. 'That's pretty amazing.'
Henderson Alvarez (4-3) pitched 6 1-3 scoreless innings, allowing seven hits without a walk, and struck out five. In his past six starts, he is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA, which leads the majors since May 22.
'All my pitches were working,' he said. 'Now it's about keeping going forward.'
Steve Cishek allowed a double to Nieuwenhuis to open the ninth, but earned his 17th save in 18 chances when Ozuna's throw landed in catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's glove for his fourth assist of the season.
'He started at the Clevelander, so I didn't think he had a shot, but he started running in,' Saltalamacchia said. 'Once he got closer I knew he had a chance, but that's a tough throw, big moment like that. You tend to do too much. He made a perfect throw.'
Mets starter Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-1) allowed one run and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out four.
'I felt good today, and just going off our last time off of Alvarez, I knew it was going to be a close game - a one or two-run game - so I knew I couldn't give up too many runs,' Matsuzaka said.
Adeiny Hechavarria drove in two runs, and Saltalamacchia hit two doubles for the Marlins, who won their major league-best 17th one-run game despite going 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
Six of the eight games between these clubs this season have been decided by one run
New York had a two-game winning streak snapped.
With the Mets trailing 3-0 in the eighth, Wright hit an RBI single off Kevin Gregg. Two batters later, with Mike Dunn pitching, pinch-hitter Eric Campbell singled to left field to make it 3-2. Wright was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score on the hit.
'I got thrown out by about 10 feet, so it wasn't a real close play,' Wright said, 'but at the same time we kind of thought that he was blocking (the plate) and apparently they thought he wasn't.'
Collins challenged the play.
'When you saw replays, his foot had pretty much that whole side blocked,' Collins said. 'The over-the-top view, I don't know. You don't ever get an explanation. All they say is the play stands.
'The umpires are as confused as anybody.'
Rafael Furcal led off of the game for the Marlins with a triple off the right-field fence and scored on a groundout by Hechavarria. It was Furcal's first extra-base hit of the season in 30 at_bats and first leadoff triple since June 11, 2010, against the Angels when he played for the Dodgers.
After Jake Marisnick stole second base in the seventh, he swiped third with Wright not in position to cover the bag. He then scored when catcher Anthony Recker's throw to third went into left field.
'It surprised them a little bit that he took off there with a left-hand hitter,' Redmond said. 'He was being aggressive and took advantage of a bad throw. That was a huge run for us.'
The Marlins extended their lead to 3-0 later in the inning when Wright attempted to bare-hand a grounder hit by Hechavarria, but the ball bounced past him, allowing Justin Bour to score.
Wright was originally charged with an error, but it was later changed to a hit.
NOTES: Mets SS Ruben Tejada took a base hit away from Casey McGehee in the eighth inning when he made a diving stop to his left, spun on the ground, and threw to first from his knees. ... Wright has a 10-game hitting streak at Marlins Park. ... Miami will send RHP Tom Koehler (5-5, 3.84) to the mound on Saturday. New York will counter with RHP Jacob deGrom (0-4, 4.39).
The Associated Press News Service
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