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Miami (1-5)0012000003130
N.Y. Mets (4-2) «000011002460

Byrd's two-run hit in 9th puts Mets past Marlins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Once they got 20-year-old Jose Fernandez out of the game, the New York Mets breathed a sigh of relief and went to work.

Marlon Byrd grounded a two-run single just inside third base in the bottom of the ninth inning and New York rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

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Daniel Murphy homered and Anthony Recker had a run-scoring double for the Mets, who spoiled an impressive major league debut by the Marlins' prized pitching prospect.

"He's going to be a good one," Byrd predicted, saying Fernandez reminded him of Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. "He's one of those guys if he's on, it really doesn't matter if you've seen him or not. He's going to be electric."

Justin Ruggiano, Chris Valaika and Donovan Solano (three hits) each had an RBI double off substitute starter Aaron Laffey to give the Marlins an early 3-0 cushion. But closer Steve Cishek (0-1) was unable to hold a one-run lead in the ninth, and Miami dropped to 1-5 heading into its home opener Monday night against Atlanta.

Fernandez, who had never been above Class A, gave up one run and three hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out eight, a record for a Marlins pitcher in his major league debut.

"I was more nervous watching five through nine than when I was pitching," Fernandez said. "It didn't feel any different. It was more like a spring training game."

Cishek retired his first batter in the ninth before Ruben Tejada was hit by a pitch. Pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled to left-center and Tejada aggressively dashed to third against Juan Pierre's weak arm. Nieuwenhuis moved up to second on the throw.

Byrd, who entered in a fifth-inning double switch, pulled a grounder just beyond the reach of a diving Valaika and down the left-field line. Both runners scored easily and Byrd was mobbed by excited teammates between first and second after his fifth career game-ending hit and first since a grand slam for Texas against the New York Yankees on Aug. 4, 2008.

"It's huge to show that we can win close games," said Byrd, who struck out his first two times up.

Scott Rice (1-0) worked a scoreless ninth for his first big league win after 14 seasons in the minors. New York, outhit 13-6 in the game, took two of three from the Marlins and has won its first two series for only the second time in 11 years.

"It's all on me," Cishek said. "It's my job to go in there and shut it all down."

Five relievers combined to throw 4 2/3 scoreless innings for the Mets. Miami went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 overall.

"We hung in there and we didn't let the game get away, which I thought was the biggest factor," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Recker had an RBI double in the fifth, his first hit for the Mets, but Fernandez fanned Byrd and retired Collin Cowgill on a popup to leave the game with a 3-1 lead after 80 pitches.

Miami plans to keep Fernandez on a pitch count all season and limit him to 150-170 innings.

Murphy greeted A.J. Ramos with a leadoff homer to center in the sixth, his second of the series after hitting six last season. Fill-in first baseman Greg Dobbs made a sprawling play later in the inning to keep Miami ahead.

Pitching with his parents in the stands, Fernandez flashed a mid-90s mph fastball and showed advanced command of his sharp breaking ball. He retired his first 10 batters, striking out five, before Murphy lined a single to center.

Murphy said the first time through the lineup against Fernandez was "a fact-finding mission for us as an offense."

"That guy's got good stuff," he said. "I thought we stayed patient. ... We were able to kind of get that pitch count up just a little bit to get into their bullpen in the sixth. You get in in the sixth, it gives you four shots at the bullpen and that's kind of what we're looking for."

Fernandez, the youngest pitcher in club history, came to the United States by boat as a Cuban refugee in 2008. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound right-hander was selected 14th overall out of his Tampa, Fla., high school in the 2011 amateur draft -- one pick after the Mets went for outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who is with Class A Savannah in the South Atlantic League.

Fernandez was 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA in the low minors last season. He went to spring training this year with the Marlins but got reassigned to minor league camp March 13 and was ticketed for Double-A Jacksonville before injuries to Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi left two holes in the rotation.

Just before the season opener, Fernandez became a surprise addition to the roster, making him the youngest pitcher on a major league squad on opening day, according to STATS. He left 15 tickets for family and friends to attend his anticipated debut.

Laffey was touched up for 10 hits and three runs over 4 1/3 innings in his National League debut.

The left-hander, a part-time starter for Toronto last season, signed a minor league contract with the Mets and was called up to start Sunday in place of Shaun Marcum (neck), likely to be sidelined for at least two or three turns through the rotation.

Notes

  • RHP Kevin Slowey gets the ball for Miami's home opener Monday night.
  • To clear roster space for Laffey, the Mets optioned reliever Jeurys Familia to Triple-A Las Vegas and transferred LHP Johan Santana (shoulder surgery) to the 60-day DL.
  • Mets RHP Matt Harvey, coming off a dominant season debut against San Diego, starts Monday night in Philadelphia against RHP Roy Halladay.
  • New York has homered in its first six games for the third time in team history (1962 and 1987).
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Marlon Byrd grounds a two-run single just inside the third base bag in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the Mets. (Getty Images)
Marlon Byrd grounds a two-run single just inside the third base bag in the bottom of the ninth to win it for the Mets. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Miami

D. Solano
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
New York

M. Byrd
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Miami Marlins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Juan Pierre, LF5010013 .250
Donovan Solano, 2B5031001 .333
Giancarlo Stanton, RF4000132 .182
Greg Dobbs, 1B3120101 .353
Justin Ruggiano, CF4021113 .286
Rob Brantly, C5010004 .313
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS3120102 .300
Chris Valaika, 3B4121025 .500
Jose Fernandez, P2000025 .000
    A.J. Ramos, P0000000 .000
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
   a- Chris Coghlan, PH1000010 .000
    Mike Dunn, P0000000 .000
    Steve Cishek, P0000000 .000
Totals363133410  
a-struck out for Rauch in the 8th
Batting
2B - Donovan Solano (1, Laffey), Justin Ruggiano (3, Laffey), Rob Brantly (3, Edgin), Chris Valaika (1, Laffey)
SH - Jose Fernandez (1)
RBI - Donovan Solano (1), Justin Ruggiano (4), Chris Valaika (1)
2-OUT RBI - Donovan Solano (1), Justin Ruggiano (3)
Team LOB - 12
Miami Marlins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jose Fernandez 5311180 1.80
A.J. Ramos (H,2) 1111111 6.00
Jon Rauch (H,1) 1000120 3.86
Mike Dunn (H,2) 1000120 5.40
Steve Cishek (BS,1; L,0-1) 0.1222000 15.43
HBP - Tejada (by Steve Cishek)
Pitches-Strikes - Jose Fernandez 80-53, A.J. Ramos 22-12, Jon Rauch 20-11, Mike Dunn 17-10, Steve Cishek 20-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jose Fernandez 2-5, A.J. Ramos 1-1
Batters Faced - Jose Fernandez 19, A.J. Ramos 5, Jon Rauch 4, Mike Dunn 4, Steve Cishek 4
New York Mets
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Collin Cowgill, CF4000012 .176
Daniel Murphy, 2B4121000 .273
David Wright, 3B2000211 .300
Ike Davis, 1B3000121 .136
Mike Baxter, RF2000012 .250
    Greg Burke, P0000000 .000
   a- Jordany Valdespin, PH1000011 .250
    Josh Edgin, P0000000 .000
    Scott Atchison, P0000000 .000
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
   b- John Buck, PH-C1000011 .400
Lucas Duda, LF4000021 .176
Ruben Tejada, SS2210100 .211
Anthony Recker, C3011021 .333
    Scott Rice, P0000000 .000
   c- Kirk Nieuwenhuis, PH1110000 .286
Aaron Laffey, P1000000 .000
    Marlon Byrd, RF3012022 .278
Totals31464413  
a-struck out for G. Burke in the 6th
b-struck out for Hawkins in the 8th
c-singled for Rice in the 9th
Batting
2B - Anthony Recker (1, Fernandez)
HR - Daniel Murphy (2, Ramos)
RBI - Daniel Murphy (6), Anthony Recker (1), Marlon Byrd 2 (4)
SB - Ruben Tejada (1, 2nd base off Rauch/Brantly)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Murphy-Tejada-Davis, Murphy-Tejada-Davis
New York Mets
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Aaron Laffey 4.11033150 6.23
Greg Burke 1.2100030 6.75
Josh Edgin 0.1100100 0.00
Scott Atchison 0.2000010 2.70
LaTroy Hawkins 1100010 6.75
Scott Rice (W,1-0) 1000200 2.70
HBP - Dobbs (by Aaron Laffey)
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Laffey 90-62, Greg Burke 25-16, Josh Edgin 13-6, Scott Atchison 10-5, LaTroy Hawkins 12-8, Scott Rice 20-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Laffey 5-2, Greg Burke 1-1, Scott Atchison 1-0, LaTroy Hawkins 1-0, Scott Rice 2-0
Batters Faced - Aaron Laffey 24, Greg Burke 6, Josh Edgin 3, Scott Atchison 2, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Scott Rice 4
Game Information
Attendance - 29780
Game Time - 3:38
Temperature - 53
Umpires - Home - Jim Wolf, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - Cory Blaser, Third Base - Jim Joyce