Mets hang five runs on Braxton Garrett, defeat Marlins in Monday matinee


Miami Marlins manager Skip Schumaker did not have to wait long to find out how his decision to replace starting pitcher Braxton Garrett with Dylan Bice in the top of the fifth inning would pan out. The New York Mets already owned a 3-0 lead, and it was about to be doubled.

Mets catcher Tomas Nido stepped up the plate with two runners on and blasted the second pitch he saw from Bice over the center field wall. Nido’s three-run home run proved to be the difference in the Mets’ 9-3 win over the Marlins Monday afternoon at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

Notable Performances

New York improved to 7-8 this spring, while the Marlins fell to 3-11 in their first camp under Schumaker. Of course, the results in spring training are of little consequence, so Schumaker pointed out the positives in his team’s performance.

“I think there were some really good things that came out of [Garrett’s] outing,” Schumaker said. “Getting through almost 80 pitches was important today, and so I thought he did a good job.”

Garrett made his third appearance of the spring and allowed five earned runs over 4.1 innings pitched. The left hander walked three and struck out three.

“I was pretty happy with [my outing] for the most part,” Garrett said. “I kinda hit a wall there in the fifth, I was a little tired. Just could have made a few better pitches. I threw more changeups, got some swings and misses.”

Garrett’s changeup has been a work in progress. The former first-round pick said he began copying the changeup grip of fellow Marlins pitcher Trevor Rogers about a week ago.

Infielders Jose Iglesias and Yuli Gurriel, who the Marlins signed to minor league free-agent contracts March 9, both made their spring debuts Monday.

Iglesias, an 11-year MLB veteran who spent the 2022 season with the Colorado Rockies, went 0 for 2. Gurriel, who departed the Houston Astros after winning his second World Series ring last year, recorded one hit in three at-bats.

Getting up to speed with just two weeks to go until opening day will be a challenge for them. Nailing down his timing at the plate will be one of Iglesias’ focuses, he said. Both Iglesias and Gurriel are native Cubans and said they are excited to play in Miami’s predominantly latin community.

“They welcomed me in a way that it makes me feel like home,” Iglesias said of his teammates. “I’m very excited for what’s going on in this clubhouse and the staff they are putting together.”

The Recap

Garrett recorded the first out on the first pitch of the ballgame, inducing a fly out to right off the bat of Tim Locastro. The Mets were sent down in order in the first inning.

The Marlins put two runners on base against Mets starting pitcher Tylor Megill in the first inning but were unable to scrape any runs across. Cooper singled up the middle and Jorge Soler sent a towering ground-rule double to center field. Locastro was battling the sun in his eyes and could not chase Soler’s ball down. Megill recorded a ground out to shortstop from Avisail Garcia to end the threat.

Iglesias got his first chance to show what he could do on defense in the second inning. With a runner on first, Nido sent a ground ball to Iglesias at shortstop. The Cuban made the play look easy; he shoveled the ball to second baseman Xavier Edwards, spurring a 6-4-3 double play.

New York struck first against Garrett in the top of the third inning. Jose Peraza singled with two outs to bring up Locastro for the second time. The Syracuse, New York, native belted a ball to right-center field just beyond the outstretched glove of Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr., who attempted a leaping grab on the warning track.

Locastro’s triple scored Peraza easily from first base, as the ball kicked off the center field wall and away from Chisholm. Locastro scored a few pitches later when Lorenzo Cedrola singled back up the middle to extend the Mets’ lead to 2-0.

Tommy Pham then walked, prompting Marlins manager Skip Schumaker to use his bullpen for the first time. Right-hander Johan Quezada replaced Garrett and forced Darin Ruf to ground into a fielder’s choice to strand two runners.

Megill kept the Marlins off the board again in the third. He allowed a single to Chisholm but otherwise set down the top of the Marlins’ order. Garrett returned the mound for the top of the fourth (such a substitution is allowed in spring training only). He surrendered a leadoff double to Nido but retired the next three he faced to strand the runner on third.

Miami’s lefthander faced more adversity in the fifth inning. Cedrola came through with an RBI double to right field, bringing around Peraza from second to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. Schumaker decided he had seen enough when Garrett gave up his third walk to Ruf, which put runners on first and second with two out.

Schumaker then brought in Bice, who yielded Nido’s three-run bomb.

Megill’s day came to an end when David Robertson replaced him on the mound to begin the fifth inning. Robertson, who the Mets signed to a one-year, $10 million free agent contract in December, struck out Xavier Edwards, and recorded an Alex De Goti ground out and CJ Hinojosa flyout.

Miami’s fourth pitcher of the afternoon, lefty Tanner Scott, worked a scoreless top of the sixth inning. The Marlins finally got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Cooper teed off on a two-run shot over the 400-foot sign in center field and off the batter’s eye. Cooper’s first home run of the spring brought the Mets’ lead down to 6-2.

Schumaker noted how important it will be to have Cooper’s bat available for all 162 regular season games. Cooper has spent time on the injured list in each of his five seasons in Miami for various ailments.

“Getting Cooper to go pole-to-pole is going to be the main thing for us,” Schumaker said. “If he does that, he’s gonna have a really nice productive year.”

The Fish kept the pressure on against right-hander Stephen Nogosek in the sixth. Miami loaded the bases and plated another run on an Edwards sacrifice fly to left field to bring the score to within three.

After Scott’s outing, Schumaker brought in relievers Dylan Floro, A.J. Puk, Steven Okert and Josh Simpson. Floro pitched the seventh and allowed a run to score on an RBI double from Ruf. Puk allowed one hit in an otherwise spotless eighth inning. Okert and Simpson combined to pitch the ninth. Okert was tagged for two runs when Mets center fielder Tanner Murphy doubled home a pair to give New York a 9-3 advantage.

After their three-run sixth inning, the Marlins were stifled offensively by the Mets bullpen for the rest of the afternoon. Miami only recorded two hits in the final three frames against Nogosek and former Marlins Jimmy Yacabonis and Jeff Brigham, who slammed the door in the ninth.

Looking Ahead

The Marlins host the Houston Astros Tuesday afternoon at Roger Dean. The Mets head back to their home base in Port St. Lucie Tuesday to take on the Washington Nationals. Both games begin at 1:10 p.m.

About Ethan Eibe

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