Mets beat the Marlins, 8-6

August 9, 2008 8:32:07 PM PDT
Daniel Murphy figures his job is to take a bunch of pitches each time he steps to the plate, giving the big boppers in the Mets lineup a good bead on the opposing pitcher. Thing is, Murphy has been just as potent as anybody else.

The young outfielder hit the first homer of his major league career, Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran also went deep and the New York Mets scratched out an 8-6 victory over Florida on Saturday night, pushing the Marlins further back in the NL East.

The Mets broke a 4-all tie in the sixth inning on Robinson Cancel's RBI groundout, and Murphy stepped to the plate in place of pitcher Brian Stokes. The sweet-swinging rookie drove a 1-1 pitch from Renyel Pinto over the left-field wall, the two-run shot giving the Mets a cushion they'd need.

"There's some guys in this lineup that can do some damage," the 23-year-old Murphy said. "I was able to put a good swing on a good pitch."

Murphy is 10-for-20 and has at least one hit in six straight games since his contract was purchased from Triple-A New Orleans a week ago. But it hasn't just been his production at the plate that's caught the eye of manager Jerry Manuel.

"Any time you get young players, they bring enthusiasm, energy, a kind of wide-eyed look - like Christmas. The big leagues is something they dream of all the time," Manuel said, trying to capture in words the infectious exuberance Murphy has brought to the club.

"It's good that he's off to a good start, had some success."

Beltran added a solo shot in the seventh and finished with three RBIs, David Wright had three hits and the Mets' bullpen survived another shaky night without All-Star closer Billy Wagner to remain a game behind division-leading Philadelphia.

Scott Schoeneweis (2-2) retired just one batter to get the win.

Jorge Cantu hit a two-run homer, the Marlins' first in five games, and Mike Jacobs added a tying two-run shot in the sixth. After the Mets went back ahead, the Marlins put two more runs up in the eighth before Aaron Heilman worked the ninth for his second save.

Florida dropped 2½ games behind the Phillies with their third loss in four games.

"We swung the bats today," optimistic Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That's a good sign."

Stokes was called up from New Orleans to make a spot start in place of John Maine, but also may have earned a job in the New York bullpen. He gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings, and contributed his first major league hit in his first at-bat.

The Mets provided their starting pitcher early runs for the second straight night.

Nick Evans lined a one-out single in the first and Wright doubled into the left-field corner, before Beltran drove them both in with another double to left. Delgado then belted an 0-2 pitch from Scott Olsen (6-7) an estimated 445 feet over the signs beyond the right-field wall.

It was Delgado's 25th home run and his 14th in the last 37 games.

"The first inning was awful, terrible. There was nothing good about it," said Olsen, who launched into an agonizing blow-by-blow description of it. "Being down 4-0 is not a good way to start a game."

Stokes began cracking in the third when Hanley Ramirez blooped a double down the right-field line and Cantu knocked a 1-2 pitch over the left-field wall. It was Cantu's 20th homer of the season, making the Marlins infield - Dan Uggla, Jacobs, Ramirez and Cantu - the first from a National League team to get at least 20 home runs from each player.

Stokes breezed through the next two innings and was poised to leave with the lead. He had two outs with a man aboard in the sixth when Jacobs drove a 2-2 pitch out to right, knotting the game 4-all.

"I was a little jittery at the start," Stokes said. "I missed a couple spots here and there, but overall it felt great."

Not so for Olsen, who was battered for five runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. The Marlins' starter has just two wins in his last 17 games.

"He settled down, he kept us in the ballgame," Gonzalez said. "We just couldn't get out of that sixth inning."

Notes: OF Ryan Church took BP and was scheduled to leave for the Mets' training complex in Florida. He hopes to begin a rehab stint next week. ... Marlins OF Cody Ross got the night off. ... The Mets optioned RHP Ruddy Lugo to New Orleans to make room for Stokes. They also transferred RHP Tony Armas Jr. (strained abdominal) to the 60-day DL.