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.