The eventual game-winning hit belonged to Burke Badenhop, and don't think for a moment that he's going to let anybody take it away from him.
The Marlins' reliever delivered his second career hit at the most opportune time Monday night, driving in Mike Stanton with two outs in the 11th inning to give Florida a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the New York Mets.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez still had infielder Osvaldo Martinez available to pinch hit, but he couldn't lift Badenhop because closer Leo Nunez was the last available arm in his bullpen. So he put Martinez on the on-deck circle as a decoy and told Badenhop, "Go get your RBI."
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He did just that, sending a pitch from Ryota Igarashi (2-1) into shallow center.
"They thought it was my first hit," Badenhop said, before recalling his only other hit in vivid detail, a blooper against the Atlanta Braves way back on June 3, 2008.
This one was a bit more memorable.
"Everybody was telling me he's a good hitter," Rodriguez said, wearing a broad smile. "I think they were trying to convince me."
Badenhop (1-0) even picked up the win after escaping a two-on, two-out jam in the 10th.
Leo Nunez pitched the bottom half of the 11th for his 15th save, despite allowing a two-out triple to relief pitcher Jonathon Niese -- who was pinch hitting only because Mets manager Terry Collins had already exhausted all of his available position players.
"Uncomfortable, from start to finish," Collins said of the game. "We had a lot of things in our advantage and we couldn't capitalize on them."
The game was played through a thick, soupy mist that delayed the start by more than an hour and provided a perfect metaphor for the way the rest of the Mets' day went.
David Wright had an MRI exam that revealed a stress fracture in his lower back, although the team isn't sure whether their star third baseman will go on the disabled list. Top prospect Jenrry Mejia had Tommy John surgery, and starting pitcher Chris Young had shoulder surgery. They even had a minor leaguer suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance.
Things appeared to be going better for the Mets once the game started.
They took a 1-0 lead off Johnson in the fourth inning, when David Murphy singled through the right side of the infield and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He came around to score on a double by Justin Turner into the gap in right field.
New York had another chance to score in the fifth, when Jose Reyes singled and Carlos Beltran lined a shot back at the pitcher that Johnson tried to knock down. The ball ricocheted off his forearm toward the left side of the infield for a hit, and the Marlins training staff came out to check on their ace. He got through the rest of the inning before he was lifted.
"It just got tight there," said Johnson, who doesn't think the bruised forearm will force him to miss any starts. "Just see how it reacts the next couple days."
Both starting pitchers got some help from their defense.
Willie Harris, starting in place of Wright at third base, laid out to stab John Buck's liner with two on and two out in the fourth. Then in the fifth, Beltran made a sliding grab of Chris Coghlan's sinking flyball and alertly doubled Omar Infante off second to end the inning.
There wasn't enough room in any park to hold Stanton's shot off Mike Pelfrey in the seventh. The ball landed on the black tarp in center field above and to the right of the home run apple, one of the longest home runs hit in the 2-plus-year history of Citi Field.
"I was ready for a fastball and turned on it," Stanton said simply.
New York had its chance in the bottom half, loading the bases against Ryan Webb. Collins decided to pinch hit for Harris with Chin-lung Hu, who grounded out against Randy Choate to end the inning. Hu is just 1 for 20 with a single RBI this season.
The Mets had another chance with runners on first and second in the 10th. Turner ripped a grounder up the middle that Ramirez muffed, but the ball bounced right to Infante, who stepped on second base before firing to first for the fortunate inning-ending double play.
"A night like that, anything can happen," Rodriguez said, still smiling. "And it did."
- Young had surgery to repair a tear of the anterior capsule of his right shoulder.
- Ramirez went 0 for 6 and left seven on base while batting second for the first time since 2006.
- After the game, the Mets sent Hu and Igarashi to Triple-A Buffalo and recalled SS Ruben Tejada. They also activated RHP Pedro Beato (right elbow tendinitis) from the DL.