Takeaways as late home run sinks Miami Marlins in series-opening loss to New York Mets

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The Miami Marlins looked as if they were going to take the lead on the New York Mets in the sixth inning Monday. Jorge Soler smoked a Jose Butto changeup and sent it flying down the left-field line for what was initially ruled a go-ahead, two-run home run.

Only the umpires corrected themselves shortly afterward. Foul ball. No home run. Game remains tied.

The Marlins couldn’t scratch across another run.

And then the Mets took the lead for good when Jeff McNeil hit a leadoff home run in the ninth inning against Tanner Scott to take a 2-1 win over Miami to begin the three-game series at loanDepot park.

Miami falls to 78-73 on the season. The Mets improve to 70-80.

McNeil took advantage of a near middle-middle slider from Scott on a 1-1 count and sent it a projected 373 feet to right field for his 10th home run of the season.

“He hit it over the fence, so yeah, it was missed location,” Scott said. “If the pitch was down and away, he’s either going to cap it or swing and miss.”

It was the first earned run Scott had allowed since July 31, snapping a stretch of 18 consecutive games without an earned run.

“He’s human,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said.

The Marlins scored their only run when Jesus Sanchez came home on a Joey Wendle double play with no outs in the fifth. Sanchez led off the inning with a walk and went first to third on a Garrett Hampson infield single.

One day after the Marlins capped a series sweep against the Atlanta Braves in which they scored 36 runs over three games, Miami was held to just five hits — all singles — on Monday against the Mets.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

Edward Cabrera in command vs Mets

After coming out of the bullpen in his first two appearances back with the Marlins following a month-long stint in the minor leagues, right-handed pitcher Edward Cabrera returned to his starting role on Monday against the Mets.

The 25-year-old, who has struggled with command all season, held the Mets in check during his 5 1/3 innings on the mound. Cabrera gave up just one run on four hits and (perhaps most importantly) one walk while striking out four. It was his longest outing since June 2 after having seven consecutive appearances (five starts and the two recent extended relief stints) going no longer than five innings.

“I felt like Cabrera again,” Cabrera said.

Mark Vientos’ RBI single to center in the fifth inning scored the lone run against Cabrera.

A.J. Puk relieved Cabrera with one on and one out in the sixth and threw 1 2/3 shutout innings and then David Robertson pitched a shutout eighth, working around a pair of one-out singles by striking out DJ Stewart and Pete Alonso, before the McNeil got to Scott in the ninth.

Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez (3) smiles after hitting his 200th hit of this season during the first inning of a baseball game on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, at loanDepot Park in Miami, Fla.
Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez (3) smiles after hitting his 200th hit of this season during the first inning of a baseball game on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, at loanDepot Park in Miami, Fla.

Luis Arraez gets 200th hit of season

With his leadoff single in the first inning Monday, Marlins All-Star second baseman Luis Arraez became the fourth player in franchise history to log 200 hits in a season.

The others: Dee Strange-Gordon (2015 and 2017), Juan Pierre (2003 and 2004) and Hanley Ramirez (2007).

Arraez is the second player in MLB this season to get to the 200-hit mark, joining the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr., who hit the mark Friday against the Marlins.

Arraez went 2 for 4 Monday. His batting average on the season is an MLB-leading .354.

The Marlins’ record for hits, for what it’s worth, is 221 by Pierre in 2004.

Where things stand in the playoff race

With the loss, the Marlins are now a half-game behind the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds for the National League’s third and final wild card spot with 11 games left to play. The Cubs were idle Monday. The Reds beat the Twins 7-3 on Monday.