NEW YORK — It certainly looked like the New York Mets would be duds on Independence Day, with Matt Harvey lasting only 3 2/3 innings and the team facing a six-run deficit.
Not so fast.
Building on a four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, the Mets matched the fourth-largest comeback in franchise history and rallied to defeat the Miami Marlins 8-6 on Monday at Citi Field.
“There was talk before the game — hey, is there going to be a letdown?” manager Terry Collins said. “There can’t be right now. We talked to the team before the Cubs series and I said, ‘We’ve got 11 games. We’ve got to grind it out 11 days. And then we’ve got a nice little rest. But we’ve got to grind it for 11 days. And if we do, we’ll be OK where we’re sitting when we go into the break.’ So far they’ve done that.”
Yoenis Cespedes delivered a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning against recently acquired Fernando Rodney. Rodney entered the appearance having allowed only one earned run in 30 2/3 innings this season between the San Diego Padres and Marlins.
The rally from the 6-0 deficit was the largest since the Mets also overcame a six-run deficit last Sept. 8 at Washington en route to an 8-7 win. That game was capped by Kirk Nieuwenhuis‘ homer against Jonathan Papelbon. It also was started by Harvey.
The franchise comeback record is turning an eight-run deficit into an 11-8 win at Houston on Sept. 2, 1972.
“I wish it was in a different way. It wasn’t fun being out there while I was,” Harvey said. “But it was obviously fun watching the team battle back like that. It showed a lot of character and a lot of heart. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it done when I was out there.”
The Mets (45-37) closed to within four games of the division-leading Washington Nationals, who lost to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Before Cespedes’ heroics, the Marlins had threatened to retake the lead when Ichiro Suzuki doubled and J.T. Realmuto walked to open the eighth against Hansel Robles. However, Martin Prado grounded into a double play on a bunt attempt. Jerry Blevins then entered and struck out Christian Yelich as the Marlins stranded the go-ahead run at third base.
Harvey avoided his 11th loss when the Mets rallied from the 6-0 deficit, although his ERA swelled to 4.86. He allowed six runs (five earned) on 11 hits and was knocked out after Yelich delivered a two-run single in the fourth.
Harvey complicated his own outing. With the bases loaded and one out in the third, he fielded Prado’s comebacker. However, Harvey rushed and threw wide to Travis d’Arnaud at the plate while trying to initiate a potential inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. Instead, the Marlins scored the first of their three runs in the inning.
“You go through your ups and downs,” Harvey said. “Unfortunately, this year has been more downs than there are ups. But we’ve still got a long way to go and a lot more starts left. … Whether it was the slider or the curveball or the changeup or the fastball, everything was just out of whack and catching too much of the plate.”